April 28, 2014

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New Zealand Cycle Touring Route - Mangakino to National Park

This cycling route takes you through the King Country which is sparsely populated hilly and a lot of it is covered with native bush. Because it is isolated there are lots of quiet shingle roads to ride on as you head south.

The ride starts on Mangakino and the first town you reach is Bennydale which is a small town 18 kilometres away. Bennydale used to have a coal mine many years ago and is one of the few towns in the King Country that has an English name. 

An option at this point is head to Blackfern Lodge which is located 78 kilometres away. It is situated at the top of a steep hill in an isolated forest valley area on the Ongarue Stream Road alongside the Ongarue river.

Quiet Roads

Blackfern Lodge

Ongarue

This part of the ride can be left out as you have to retrace your steps from the Lodge but it is well worth a visit to experience the isolation and splendour of the King Country.

You then travel on the Ongarue back road to Taumarunui  onto National Park through Hikumutu which is a further 96 Kilometres. Ongarue is a small rural settlement on the west bank of the Onagarue and is 24 kilometres north of Tauramanui. Tauramanui (population 6,000) is where the Whanganui and Onagarue rivers meet.

It is then 47 kilometres from Tauramanui to National Park starting on Hikumutu Road rather than using the main state highway. On the main highway there is a short steep climb as you ride towards National Park town and Tongario National Park which includes Mount Ruapehu. (2,797m).


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