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Northern Tararua Traverse, Manawatu - Wanganui

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Northern Tararua TraverseIntermediate - Experienced

Submitted by Tim Carpenter

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Trail Information





Manawatu - Wanganui

Palmerston North

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops

Intermediate - Experienced

Not Suitable (Slow)
10:00 (Moderate)
8:00 (Fast)



Nov 2019: Due to construction of the new wind farm on South Range road there is strictly no access to South range in order to complete this run

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This is a traverse of the northern-most section of the Tararua's, finishing with the Manawatu Gorge Track.

Start at Fitzherbert Ave Bridge, and run out of town on SH54, before turning Left into Old West Road, and then Right onto Kahutarewa Road. Follow Kahutewara Road to the end. This is where the seal finishes and single trail begins. Continue onto the L) side trail of the sledge track, continuing for around 2.8km until turning L) up the hill to The Elevation and Hardies Park. It is approximately 400m climb up The Elevation.

Once at the top, turn R) at Toe Toe Junction, and continue along the trail (marked with Orange triangles) until reaching a large rocky outcrop and a LARGE triangle pointing to the R). This is after crossing the 2 Toe Toe swampy sections and having a steady uphill. This brings you onto South Range Road, turn R) and continue on the gravel road for 15km (you will have to climb the gate at 12km along the road, as area is closed to traffic due to being Palmerston North Water Catchment Area), and reach the Pahiatua Track, before crossing onto the North Range Road.

The gravel road continues, undulating wtih puddles and mud, until you reach the 5km downhill of Hall Block Road. At the bottom cross to Beyond the Bridge Cafe [NOW CLOSED] and then continue toward Woodville, reaching the signs for the Manawatu Gorge Track. Climb up and over the 11km of single track to finish at the carpark on the Ashhurst end of the Gorge to finish. If you want to keep going, it is another 15km along limestone and sealed pathways to complete the Northern Tararua Loop.

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Make Up of Run

Moderate Single Track: 25%

Gravel Road: 50%

Sealed Road: 25%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Park at Fitzherbert Ave Bridge on Centennial Drive.
    Alternate start point is to get dropped off at the end of Kahutarewa Road

    4 km

    8 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    When on the single track of Toe Toe Loop, pay attention to where you are going and to the Big Triangle needed for exit to South Range Road


    Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.

    There is no water available until 2/3 along North Range Road (~50km in) on the L) side of road, with water tank present.
    At top of Gorge Track (sign posted windmill) there is a long drop which has a water tank attached to it.
    Carry plenty of you own!

    Can be cold and exposed along the ridge lines.

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