Day 25 | Ashhurst to Eketahuna

The Tararua Traverse

Date: 15 Feb 2024
Grade: 2

There are three possible routes across the Tararuas:

  1. The Saddle road
    Fairly stiff climb  – and anyway, closed 9 to 5 for the next couple of weeks, so not an option.
  2. The Paihiatua Track
    All daytime traffic is currently using this one narrow winding road and the New Zealand cycle trails website a strongly recommends not biking it but taking a shuttle.
  3. The old Manawatu Gorge road
    Closed by slips and now abandoned, this former main highway has formidable barriers at the entrance and at intervals throughout, but intrepid locals have made holes in fences and paths have been worn across slips and there are quite a few tell-tale bike tracks. It has been on our bucket list for some time.

I’m not going to recommend doing anything illegal but we did the gorge and it was gorgeous (sorry). Bowled along by a stiff tailwind, we rode and clambered the 6 km, weaving around occasional rocks and small slips and revelling in a road without traffic. Once through, we wended our way via side roads to Pahiatua, were welcomed loudly by a local, and fueled up at local coffee roastery Arrosta, before heading south via the lovely, deserted Mangaone Valley, pleasantly removed from SH 2 but plagued at times by a very fresh westerly.

We’re staying at the Eketahuna Inn, currently the only place to eat, since the highly-reviewed Ryli’s Kiwi Kai takeaways closed down. The town is a bit of a disaster with only about 1/3 of the shops operating, including a 4 Square/grogshop (thriving), a pottery shop specializing in Crown Lynn replicas, an OpShop, and a sex shop. The demographics of the population that supports this town have been subject to speculation over an excellent Venison Burger with perfect chips.


Supplies: 4Square

Accommodation: Eketahuna Inn

These videos are best viewed on a computer screen. Turning your phone sideways helps.

Total distance: 65.35 km
Max elevation: 271 m
Min elevation: 61 m
Total climbing: 1017 m
Total descent: -870 m
Total time: 05:33:55
Download file: day25.gpx

Battery use: 73% | 455Wh Strong headwinds and a slight uphill all the way


Posted in Eta

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