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The Great Rides and Cycle Trails of New Zealand

The 42 Traverse

Classic Mountain Bike Ride

Ruapehu, North Island

Known as being the greatest mountain bike ride on the North Island, the 42 Traverse follows an old logging road and is filled with exhilarating downhills, some challenging uphills, and is known for having many rutted sections along the trail.

The 42 Traverse follows old logging road for much of it's duration through what was previously known as the State Forest 42 some of the most remote land in New Zealand.

The ride is easily completed as a day trip from any of the nearby towns such as Taupo, Ohakune, Raetihi, or National Park.

Although the 46 kilometer long primarily vehicle trail with an overall descent of 520 meters sounds easy it is usually rather rutted making it enjoyable for even experienced riders that prefer something else, however it is not technical and would be achievable by most intermediate riders.  You can expect to be riding between 4 and 6 hours.  The track can get very muddy (sticky gear muddy) and also has a few river crossings.  It would pay not to ride the 42 Traverse at the end of winter after some rains where snow melt and heavy rain might make the rivers impassable - and a long uphill grind back to the road start!!

The 42 Traverse covers an extremely remote sub-alpine part of New Zealand where the weather can change fast.  There are very few alternative ways out once you reach the Tongariro Forest so pick your days if you are inexperienced to this type of riding in New Zealand and carry all the essential food, clothes, bike fixit stuff.

The start of the 42 Traverse is at the junction of Kapoors Road and State Highway 47 which is 18 km north of National Park Village. About 6 kilometers up Kapoors Road is a car park and a DOC sign marking the start of the track. It’s well marked along the way with dark green posts in the area surrounding most major intersections.

The views of the volcanic plateau are phenomenal including Mountains Ngarahoe (Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies), Ruapehu and Tongariro (which gives it's name to the National Park itself).  But we think probably the best part of the whole ride is the cold pint at the end of the trail at the experiential Owhango Pub.


  • The 42nd Traverse