Te Ara o Mahurangi
Mountain Biking Manawatu Gorge
Type: Mountain Biking
Distance: 3.6km Loop
Elevation: 92m - 213m
Time: 20+ minutes
Grade: 3 & 4 Intermediate/Advanced
Please Note: Currently this trail is best avoided after heavy rain as it can get very slippery and muddy.
The Te Ara o Mahurangi mountain bike trail takes riders on a fast-paced downhill ride through 2km of native bush. This ride is best suited for intermediate and advanced riders. Riders have the option of doing a 3.6km loop by parking at the old Bridge Café and riding 1.6km up Hall Block Road before descending the trail. Alternatively, vehicles can drop off riders on upper Hall Block Road at the start of the trail.
After descending the grade 3 trail for 800m, riders will come to a fork. The right fork allows riders to continue on 1.2km of grade 3 trail, while the left fork allows advanced riders to quickly descend through steeper and more challenging terrain. Both options arrive at the common exit point on Hall Block Road.
Option 1 (loop) – Traffic currently diverted through the Saddle Road.
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.
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 trail was named after Mahurangi, the famous pet dog who was ownedby Tara, son of the ancient ancestor named Pouheni. 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.