Takapari Road Track
Time: 3-5hrs, Distance: 26km return, Fitness level: Experienced
Discover the Ruahine Forest Park with fantastic views from the top all the way to the coast on a clear day.
Distance: 32km return
Elevation: 336m - 1169m
Time: Approx. 3 hours
This popular Mountain Bike and Four Wheel Drive Road offers an awesome and challenging way to access the top of the Ruahine Forest Park. Park your vehicle at the bottom of the road, and begin your ride with a reasonably gentle climb through farmland to a gate leading to the forest park, then on to a steeper gravel road, past regenerating bush and then up into scrub land. The trees thin out as you climb, until you eventually reach the summit. As you’ll be climbing to over 1100 metres above sea level, it will get cold – even on a sunny day. The ride down is awesome but the wind chill factor is very high and if the cloud, mist or rain comes down it is extremely cold at this elevation. Takapari Road includes an 11km climb up to the DOC A-Frame Hut and a further 6km to the road-end. The road steepens and becomes rougher as you climb through shrub-land, and then becomes undulating as it takes you along the ridge. The road directly after A Frame hut is marginal for about 1km but is worth persevering on a clear day for the view over Dannevirke. Be prepared and take several layers of clothing, plenty to drink and high-energy snacks. As with all back country trips, tell someone where you are going.
This is the only all-access public road which goes right up to the tops in the Ruahine Forest Park. The New Zealand Forest Service constructed the road in the early 1970s to allow access for planting, and it remains a popular road for mountain bikers and four-wheel drive enthusiasts. There are fantastic views from the tops; on a clear day you can see all the way to the coast. The forest changes from podocarp species, to pahautea, to leatherwood (tupare). The dominant vegetation in the area is dense leatherwood; it is part of the largest unbroken expanse of leatherwood forest in New Zealand.
Plan and Prepare for your ride:
• Take warm clothing whatever the weather or season as conditions can change very suddenly at this altitude. Do not leave home without a minimum of windbreaker, long gloves, hat, and at least one layer of polyprop, if not a second layer. In winter a fleece layer is also recommended. The ride down is awesome but the wind chill factor is very high and if the cloud, mist or rain comes down it is extremely cold at this elevation.
• Tell someone where you are going.
• Watch for 4WD vehicles on the descent. This is a public road - all road rules apply. Ride safe.
• Make sure your drivetrain and brakes are in good condition. You will need some low gears on the way up and good brakes for the descent.
• Stay on the designated mountain bike track or roads - do not take short cuts.