The Old Coach Road was a section of the main trunk railway line that in the early 1900s was incomplete. So between 1906 and 1908 passengers would have to disembark from the train to travel by horse and coach through the Old Coach road largely covered in cobblestone. The road also provided access to completing this missing section on the main trunk line and in 1908 with the railway line complete the services of the road was no longer required. You now get to enjoy the road by bike (or by foot) and appreciate the history of this area as well as understand some of the challenges and hardships faced in these times and be impressed by their successes and achievements.
Where is it?
The Old Coach Road Bike Trail is located in Ohakune in the centre of the North Island. The trail traverses between the town of Ohakune and Horopito
The ride – is it doable for you?
Biking Distance? The old coach road is 15km one way or can be ridden as a there and back trip for a 30km round trip. Shuttles are readily available from Ohakune and they will drop you and your bike at Horopito allowing you to leisurely make your way back to Ohakune. This is definitely the way to ride. Horopito is about 500ft higher than Ohakune therefore offering more of a downhill experience. You would need to allow 2 hours plus if enjoying one way and 4 hours plus if riding the round trip.
Biking Surface? The biking surface is variable. It includes a wide trail sometimes grassy/muddy farmland, sometimes old cobblestones to a compacted surface that can contain a few rocks and tree roots. There is also single track to enjoy.
Biking Skills required? This is NOT a technical ride. Some of the skills involved are riding uphill, downhill, cornering and picking a riding line to avoid some obstacles but generally there are not too many obstacles and there is plenty of space to avoid them.
Level of biking fitness? This will either be a 2 hour ride or a 4 hour if doing the round trip. Do you have the endurance levels required? If riding in the downhill direction then fitness requirements will be less though remember there is still some uphill.
Can you ride with Kids Attached? The Towhee Tow Rope could be the asset you need to get some younger kids riding on their own bike through this ride… at least stashed in your bag with the ability to pull it out if needed. The Mid mount – Shotgun Mountain Bike Seat is a good option for riding with younger kids attached and a rear bike seat are all options on this trail for those who are experienced riders.
On the trail
On the trail
Looking out to the Hapawhenua Viaduct
It doesn’t matter what ride you are doing or where you are going, you will always want to be safe. Check out the goRide guide How to have a “great day’ on the bike for general information on how to make sure you are safe on the bike.
Enjoy the experience and have fun
If you have worked through the points above then you will be more likely to enjoy and have fun on your ride.
There is so much fun to be had when out exploring on a bike
Some things to look out for on the Old Coach Road.
This ride is filled with history. Some of that history can be read along the way on information boards as well as viewed in the viaducts and tunnels. There are certainly many little stops to enjoy on the way. Taonui Viaduct, crossing the Hapuawhenua Viaduct, entering the curved tunnel.
Biking the swing bridge
Stopping for food
The Taonui Viaduct.
Crossing the Hapawhenua Viaduct….don’t look down!