Distance: 36km Time: 5 - 7 hours Grade: 3 Intermediate
The Mangapurua Track entrance is on Ruatiti Road, 30km north-west of Raetihi. The track starts with an uphill climb to the trig before winding down through Whanganui National Park, along sheer bluff faces, across deep ravines and over the historic Bridge to Nowhere before descending to the Mangapurua Landing at the Whanganui River.
The Mangapurua Valley is rich in history as one of the first areas offered to soldiers returning from World War 1 for settlement in 1917. Forty enthusiastic soliders and their families established farms in the valley and just 25 years later the valley was deserted following the decision to close the treacherous access road.
Today the native forest is regenerating in this isolated valley but there are still signs of the original settlements offering visitors a fascinating glimpse into post-war life.
A jet boat pick up from the Mangapurua Landing must be booked in advance.
Note, this section of the trail is very remote with no cell phone coverage. It is recommended riders carry an emergency alert device (e.g. Spot tracker).