OverviewTrail Status: Open
Mangaweka — Palmerston North (2-3 days, 120km)
The New Zealand Cycle Trail has made its way to the Manawatu region with a mainly on-road trail from Mangaweka to Palmerston North.
Aptly named ‘The Country Road’, 80% of this trail is on quiet, backcountry roads where you will enjoy the region’s stunning countryside. This 126km ride takes you through the heart of rural Manawatu and on into the urban centre of Palmerston North City.
Some impressive Manawatu scenery is on display alongside the trail, from the views of white papa (mudstone) cliffs and magnificent cobbled river terraces to wetlands, native bush and glowworm caves.
It’s not all nature-based either; the trail is dotted with attractions including historical spots, museums and quirky eateries. The trail also takes in a number of fascinating towns, including Mangaweka, Apiti, Ashhurst and the city of Palmerston North at the trail’s end.
The trail can be ridden all year round, but the best riding conditions are in summer and autumn (late November to early May).
It is rated Grade 3 (intermediate) and includes a couple of good climbs, so it is recommended for fit and experienced cyclists only.
Be sure to check out the Rangiwahia ‘Dress Circle’ Reserve. This swimming and picnic spot off Lagoon Rd sits on a river bend and is surrounded by cliffs and dotted with waterfalls.
Early settlers named the spot the dress circle because the cliffs reminded them of an opera house.
The turn-off is 11km south from the Mangaweka Bridge.
As you head along Pohangina Valley East Road, be prepared for some amazing photo opportunities as you wind your way down through lush green terraces and valleys of native bush.
You’ll be treated to gorgeous views, which are particularly spectacular during the autumn months.
In summer there is blueberry picking and plenty of great spots to swim in the river.
MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE: Available in most places, but not all of the cycleway.
DRINKING WATER: There are plenty of places to fill your water bottle along this cycleway.