BRIDGE

TO NOWHERE

 via Kiawhakauka

  

Distance:  40km one-way

Fitness:  Medium to High

Time:   5 – 7  hours  + 1  hour  Jet boat ride

Grade:  4  –  Advanced

 

 

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An Adventure to a Forgotten World

The experience is hard to beat, exploring some of NZ's most remote back country with many reminders of the old settlers.  The Bridge to Nowhere has an enthralling descent, the climb up demands a bit of stamina but the views quickly replace any thoughts of hardship.   The isolation of this trail is reinforced with an hour long Jet boat journey out.

 

 

 




 

The RIDE:

From Whakahoro campsite were the Kaiwhakauka stream meets the Wanganui River you begin the long ascent up the valley to the Mangapurua Trig.  Tracking up beside the Kaiwhakauka stream there are many bridges to cross, the climb is gentle for the most part but steepens towards the top and the grind to the trig is a rewarding rest point.  From here the Mangapurua trail continues and the descent to the valley floor is as exhilarating as they get!  As you head down the Valley alongside the Mangapurua stream there are more bridges and some spectacular views.  An imposing landscape with many reminders of the once occupied land, old fence lines, exotic stands of trees and the odd chimney.  Some parts of the trail are tranquil, riding through old paddocks with the grass above shoulder height to the treacherous limestone bluffs.  This place as beautiful as it is, also gives cue to the hardship endured by the settles, often during winter months becoming overcome with mud and slippery clay.  Finally reaching the Bridge to Nowhere an inspiring experience, you can rest gazing at the trout and eels in the stream below or the vast wilderness above before a short 20mins down to the Jet boat pick-up on the Wanganui River and return journey up stream and back to the campsite.  This is the complete wilderness experience reaching one of NZ’s most remote regions.

  

 HISTORY:

 The bridge, a steel reinforced concrete structure built 40 meters above the river on the steep ravine walls of the Mangapurua.  It was constructed to allow better access to the remote valley for the many new settlers who had begun farming here after WW1.  Built by 5 men, it is testament to the hardships that were endured breaking in this rugged land.  The Mangapurua and Kaiwhakauka Valleys were opened by a Government scheme in 1917 to provide farmland as settlement for Returned Servicemen.  After 2 years a timber swing bridge was built but it wasn’t until 1936 that this concrete bridge was built.  By 1941 due to economic hardship (The Depression) and the remoteness of the valley there were only three families left.  A major flood in 1942 meant the Government declined to fund any further maintenance and by May that year the valley was officially closed and the remaining families packed up their stock and moved out. 

  Considered the foremost monument to the many ill-fated attempts made in New Zealand to farm marginal land.  Its farming and environmental significance have gained it recognition as a Category One Historic Place.  The unofficial flagship to the Wanganui National Park, an iconic symbol of adventure tourism, the Bridge gets far more use today than when it was built.

 

GETTING THERE:

 A shuttle takes us from National Park Village for about 45mins down to the Whakahoro campsite.  From here the trail begins and we will not see any more signs of civilization until we reach the jet boat pick-up on the Wanganui River.  An hour up the Wanganui by Jet boat is one of the most unique conclusions to a ride in the world.  The shuttle will be waiting for our return to National Park Village.

 As an extension to this experience, try the two day option which includes Fishers Track and accommodation at Whakahoro.

 

 Package Includes:

 Professional Guide

 Lunch

 Shuttle Service