Riding a bike is one of the best ways to experience New Zealand’s beauty, and the Ohakune Old Coach Road bike track is a scenic trip through the southern section of Tongariro National Park. Set on the slopes of Mt. Ruapehu, the track was built in 1906 to connect two North Island rail lines, which were separated by only 20 miles of densely forested terrain. While tracks connecting the lines were being built, railroad passengers would disembark and load into horse-drawn coaches, which would then climb the cobblestone path to meet up with the opposite rail line. When the tracks were eventually connected, however, the trail was quickly neglected, until the community revived the trail as an historic outdoor destination. When riding the Ohakune Old Coach Road (which can also be seen on foot), travel past rustic viaducts with dark, pitch black interiors, and learn the history of New Zealand’s early railroad engineering. Ride through tree tunnels where sunlight flickers and dances between the leaves, and fill your lungs with fresh mountain air on this two-wheeled North Island adventure.
Most people take about 2-3 hours to cycle the 9-mile trail. Many of the Ohakune bike operators will include transport to the Horohito trailhead, and the gradual grade makes it accessible to novice and intermediate riders.