Some Story's/notes from my ta ride earlier this year - or what 3 hours typing away on my tablet looks like..... - enjoy
Taumarunui to mosely campsites
Leaving taumarunui I head along back roads towards whakahoro on a mix of gravel and tarseal roads – whakahoro is one of the places where the boats leave for a jet boat or where people can padded a canoe/kayak down the river to bridge to nowhere and on to pipiriki (next road access to the river – from whakahoro I head around the kaiwhakauka track pass the blue duck Cafe. As I’m heading along the track I play tag with a few off road bikes (4wd farm bikes) with backpackers before I stop at a water fall next to the site of a old bridge dating from the 1920?s (the old wooden bridge collapse a few years ago taking a newer bridge that was on top of it with it – the bridge has been replaced with a newer one with the remains of the old bridge next to the track near the new bridge -
past the bridge the track goes from a 4wd track to a single track at the site of a Depot for the farmers trying to clear farms out of the bush – from here the track gets a lot harder with a long drop to the steam next to the track - I end up walking parts of the track as its safer then trying to ride parts – the area is very remote and hard land – this road? Was put though in the 1920s for access to the valleys for the return soldiers to clear the land for farms –because of work involved with trying to clear and farm the bush
- the people had all left the valley by 1942 – all what’s left is old house sites and the big concrete arch bridge (called bridge to nowhere as it’s deep in the bush) build 1935-1936 - by the time the bridge was finished many of the family’s had left the valley – along the track is little signs with the names of the people who had tried to farm here...
It’s a mix of riding and pushing the bike along the track crossing foot bridges across side streams until I get to mosely campsite (cooking shelter, rain water tank and toilet) where I set up camp for the night – there is a tramper also staying the night who is planning on taking a different route out then what I’m doing. After a bit of a chat I head off to bed for the night
Mosely campsite to near bridge to nowhere
After packing up camp and getting water – some times getting water can be a bit of a issue on this track as it can be a steep drop down to the steam (water course’s in mudstone County cut deep) I get back to riding the track – well at least trying to as between the conditions of the track and a bit of a issue with bike drive chain what I end up fixing by relubing the drive chain and a few others bits adjusted I end up still walking parts of the track until I get to a clearing where there appears to be land still being farmed?
From there the track is a lot more easier to ride as it’s now a 4wd track /gravel road as it climbs out of the valley to fork in the track with the left side going to a different 4wd track out of the bush. Turning right on to a gravel road /4wd track (mangapurua track) I do a bit more climbing before getting to a high point at mangapurua trig – from there its a long and fun down hill as I drop into the valley where the bridge to nowhere is passing a few campsites – hunters use this track for access into deeper parts to the bush.
In places there are ford’s with the remains of old wooden bridges next to them – at some point the 4wd track ends at a foot bridge across a steam that’s to deep for a Ford crossing - at the bridge is a 4wd bike parked up (hunters) from here onward to the bridge to nowhere the track crosses steams on narrow foot bridges that mean I need to take the panniers off the bike to fit it across the bridge (there’s around 6? Of them)
in places the track is being worked on by doc (slips are a common issue on the track in places) at times there’s places where there’s signs saying to walk the bike as the track is to narrow /slippery to ride safely with a very long drop to the steam /River - at one place called battleship bluff (because of the shape of the landscape) the people who built the road /track spent years slowly blasting a track (starting from the top and cutting they way down to where the track is now)
- looking at the time I’m happy that I allow extra time to get to the river near bridge to nowhere for the lift to pipiriki by jet boat that I booked when I was in taumarunui (pretty much no cell phone reception from taumarunui until top of gentle Annie Hill (17 km? Out of Whanganui) apparently there is a phone at Blue duck cafe?) so boats need to be pre-booked to get a lift from mangapurua landing (where the bridge to nowhere track comes out – I keep riding until I get to near the bridge to nowhere where I set up camp for the night - good thing I allowed extra time to get to mangapurua landing as I would of missed the boat by 45 mins so there’s no rush to make it to the landing that day
Near the bridge to nowhere to some where on the river road
After a bit of a sleep in I head along the track over the bridge to nowhere (stoping for photos) before heading down to mangapurua landing to wait for the jet boat – spending the time chatting with some of the visitors that came by boat from both up and down river - then it’s time to get on the jet boat for the trip down river as for what the boat trip was like I would say it’s much better/ nicer going by canoe /kayak down the river having gone from whakahoro all the way to Whanganui by kayak when I was walking the te araoa trail a few years ago from cape reinga to Wellington
Once the boat got to pipiriki it was time to get back to riding on the road – in places the road was under repair because of some big floods some months ago. Riding along the Whanganui River Rd I stop at the old convent at Jerusalem (one of the small villages along the road) before getting back on the road riding until I to a free doc camp site on the river Rd that I have stayed at before where I set up camp for the night
Some where on the river road to top 10 camp ground at Whanganui
After getting back on the road I keep riding along the river road until I get to the top of gentle Annie Hill (cell phone reception?) getting nice views/photos from the lookout before a fun Down hill ride to a T-intersection with S. H. 4 where it’s a flat ride along the highway into the city of Whanganui (stopping for a ice-cream along the way : ) . After spending a bit of time looking around town I head out to the top 10 camp ground (around 10? Km from the centre of town) setting up camp for the night before spending time charging up my phone and other things that needed charging up then heading to bed for the night
Whanganui top 10 to hunterville
Getting in a bit of shopping including a mp3 player/fm radio that was on sale – the shop people tryed to tell me that the mp3 player would not work with my phone (my phone can use USB drives) and I needed a different mp3 player like a apple one (what I knew would not work for me as Apple mp3 players need iTunes on a computer to put songs on them) - yep it worked fine as the mp3 player was just a USB drive to the phone – don’t you hate it when sales people give out wrong information to try to sell you a different thing then you want /need (for a much higher price as well or they act like you can’t possibly know what you talking about... Anyhow I also picked up the latest version of the Kennett book on nz cycle trails as it had more up to date info in it then the one I had been using before stocking up on food as next supermarket for me is not until to palmerston North - there is a few small shops like in Hunterville but no supermarkets on the ta route
Then it was time to leave town for hunterville by back roads - but first up was I ride down a tunnel and into a elevator – might sound odd for a bike ride but this is the durie Hill elevator ($2) open hours ( in 2016) are Monday to Friday 7:30 am-6 pm Saturday 9am-6 pm Sunday 10am - 5pm
At the top is a tower with views over the city - after getting photos of the durie Hill elevator and from the tower it was time for me to leave the city. riding on back roads past a few villages and over a few hills until I get to hunterville where there is free camping (though they sometimes lock the public toilet at night?) in the park (can be noisily with the traffic on S. H. 1) after looking around town for a bit (it’s a small place : ) I set up camp in the park before heading off to sleep for the night