Te Ara o Mahurangi

Mountain Biking Manawatu Gorge

Type: Mountain Biking
Distance: 3.6km Loop
Time: 20+ minutes
Grade: Intermediate to Advanced

The newest addition to Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge is Te Ara o Mahurangi, an exciting new downhill mountain bike trail. This trail takes riders on a fast-paced downhill ride through 2km of native bush, and is rated an intermediate trail, or level 3. Finish up with a nice coffee, tasty meal or cold drink at Bridge Café, or head off and walk some of the nearby bush walks.



Option 1 (loop) – From Palmerston North, drive towards Ashhurst on SH3, continuing through the gorge. At the end of the gorge turn right onto Ballance Bridge (Gorge Rd). Continue 800 meters and park in the gravel car park on your left. Jump on your bike and head back along Gorge Rd 50 meters, turning left onto Hall Block Rd. Ride up the gravel road approximately 1.6km, before entering the downhill track on your left which leads back to the car park at the bottom.

Option 2 (downhill only) – Follow the directions in Option 1, however instead of parking in the car park on Gorge Rd, turn right onto Hall Block Rd. Approximately 1.6km up there is a small turning bay adjacent to the start of the downhill track. It is recommended that riders are dropped off with the driver heading back down to the car park at the bottom on Gorge Rd.

Please note:
This trail is the result of collaboration between the Te Apiti – Manawatu Gorge Biodiversity Project and the Manawatu Mountain Bike Club, who will continue to maintain this trail. Is not suitable for beginner riders due to some reasonably steep down hill sections. Currently this trail is best avoided after heavy rains as it can get very slippery.


The Story:

The trail was named after Mahurangi, the famous pet dog who was ownedby Tara, son of the ancient ancestor namedPouheni. Tara lived in the 14 century and as a young man set out on a journey which began in the Turanganui-a-Kiwa district (now known as Gisborne). Tara and Mahurangi– who was a very energetic dog who raced ahead of his owner at every opportunity – travelled south together naming various rivers, lakes and places as they went. After travelling through the Hawkes Bay area and the great forest of Te Tapere nui o Whātonga (later to be known as the Seventy Mile Bush) the pair emerged near the eastern entrance to Te Apiti – Manawatū Gorge.  At this point, Tara lost sight of Mahurangi and only by the sound of his barking was he found. Since that time, this area has been referred to by the local Rangitāne people as ‘Te Waha o te Kurī ’ meaning ‘the voice (barking) of the dog’. This historical event is commemorated in the name Te Ara o Mahurangi –  Mahurangi’s track.


Before your next trip, make sure you read and understand The Outdoor Safety CODE, as well as telling someone your plans – your safety is your responsibility. Check out the links below to help you plan your next outdoor adventure.

Alerts   |   Weather   |   Tell Someone Your Plans   |   The Outdoor Safety Code   |   Leave No Trace