The Ruapehu-Whanganui Trails is a massive 317km ride that will take 4-6 days to complete and will cross two national parks.
The trails are easily accessible for day rides year round, however if you are considering doing the full trail or multiple day rides, then summer is best for this.
All trail sections have return access by road or river transport.
The trail starts on Mount Ruapehu then crosses the Hapuawhenua viaduct (294m), passes through Tongariro and Whanganui National Parks and then the crosses the Bridge to Nowhere. You then need to take a jet boat ride down the Whanganui River to Pipiriki and finally cycle to Wanganui along the Whanganui River Road.
The trail sections consist of the Ohakune Old Coach Road, Fishers Track at National Park Village, Kaiwhakauka Track, Mangapurua Track, the Bridge to Nowhere and Mangapurua Landing.
The Ohakune Old Coach Road section will be officially opened on July 2.
The Ohakune Old Coach Road section is complete and was opened in July 2010. This 14km stretch of trail follows the historic Old Coach Road between what were the railheads of the main truck railway line before the line was finally completed in 1909. It offers a great family bike ride through some spectacular scenery, and link trails to Hapuawhenua and Taonui viaducts, which offer great historic interest as well. From Horopito the cycle trail follows a rural road network for 44km to the beginning of the Mangapurua Track.
The Fishers Track is already open. This 17km stretch of trail follows the old bridal trail between Upper Retaruke Valley and National Park Village. It offers a great family bike ride through some spectacular scenery, and link trails to Kaiwhakauka Track and the historic Mangapurua Track.
The Mangapurua (33km) and Kaiwhakauka (17.5km) tracks form a trail system that has been upgraded from a tramping track to a multi-use trail for trampers, walkers and cyclists. The Bridge to Nowhere track (2.7km from Mangapurua Landing) is currently maintained as a walking track and provides access from the Whanganui River to the iconic Bridge to Nowhere.
The Kaiwhakauka Track is due for completion mid June 2011. At this stage, the trail is still able to be used as a tramping track but cyclists are asked to consider cycle trail use for the months of spring and summer only.
The remainder of The Ruapehu-Whanganui Trails route largely follows public roads or the Whanganui River.