Our Trails

42 Traverse

grade - easy grade - advanced
Grade 2 - 4 Easy - Adv
1days
47km

A popular adventure ride on old 4 wheel drive tracks through remote bush near the Tongariro National Park.

This day trip adventure takes rider through remote bush near the Tongariro National Park and includes good riding on four wheel drive tracks and several unbridged stream crossings. There is an overall elevation loss from start to finish.

Shuttle Options

Trail grades are based on technical difficulty only.

grade - easy
Grade 2 Easy
7 km
grade - intermediate
Grade 3 Intermediate
30 km
grade - advanced
Grade 4 Advanced
10 km

About the Trail

The 42 Traverse has been the most popular mountain bike ride the Central Plateau for years. In many ways the 42 Traverse has been superceeded by new adventure rides that have been opened to mountain bikes in recent years. Still the 42 Traverse is an excellent adventure in an iconic part of New Zealand. It provides views of Mt Ruapehu and the Tongariro National Park as we as headwaters of Wanganui River.

The 42 Traverse crosses the Tongariro Forest from the Tussock deserts of the National Park and finishes at the village of Owhango. This epic ride can be tailored in length and generally a Grade 3 track but has some stream crossings and steeper section that classify as Grade 4. There is even the option of a Pub or Cafe in Owhango at the end of the ride, so you’re all set for a debrief of your 42 Traverse adventure!

It is best to ride the 42 Traverse from the south end on SH48 because the north end of the trail in Owhango has a lower elevation making for an overall ride with more downhill than climbing. Be aware it is a 2 way trail and it is used by quads and 4WDs.

The end of the 42 Traverse is located North of National Park Village and South of Taumarunui at a little village called Owhango. The start of the 42 traverse is located East of National Park Village and West of Turagani.

To make logistics easy and enjoy the best service, take advantage of our round trip shuttle service from Taupo.

Taupo which is the nearest major town to the start of the trail. Taupo is a spectacular place and there are lots of accommodation and options, restaurants, and cafes. Taupo is 1hr from the start of the Trail and less than 2hrs from the end. We provide round trip transport from any Taupo accommodation, or you can meet us at the start of the trail.

Alternatively, stay in National Park Village which is just 20mins from the end of the trail. If you stay there you can drive to end of the trail and meet our shuttle there, or if you have a large group, we can provide round trip transport from your National Park accommodation.

Driving times: 
 To Owhango from:                                   To the start of the trail at SH48 from:
 Taupo…………………………..1h30min  Taupo…………………………..1hr
 Turangi………………………..1hr National Park Village……….15min
 Taumarunui………………….30min  Taumarunui……………………1hr
 National Park Village……..20min  Owhango………………………40min

Alternatively, stay in National Park Village which is just 20mins from the end of the trail. If you stay there you can drive to end of the trail and meet our shuttle there, or if you have a large group, we can provide round trip transport from your National Park accommodation.

If you are meeting us at the  trail, drive to the North end at Ohwango and Park in the gravel parking area opposite Cafe 39 South. Our shuttle will meet you there.

Where to park and start your ride:
South end of the trail:  North end of the trail:
SH48  Owhango
Slab Rd Car Park  Whakapapa River Bridge

You will need to take a shuttle to ride the 42 Traverse, unless you are planing to turn around at some point during your ride ride back the same way.

It is best to ride the 42 Traverse from the south end on SH48 because the north end of the trail in Owhango has a lower elevation making for an overall ride with more downhill than climbing. Be aware it is a 2 way trail and it is used by quads and 4WDs.

To do the full ride, our shuttle will drop you off at the junction of Kapoors Rd and SH48. That is the main starting point.

Alternatively, if you want to shorten the ride, you can skip the first 6km by being shuttled along the gravel roads to the Slab Road Car Park. From there, the trail undulates for several kilometres before beginning the universally popular descent to the Waione Stream. The descent is fast and can be slippery in places. After the main stream crossing the largest climb of the ride begins. From the top of the climb the trail undulates for several more km and crosses more that are smaller than the Waione. Eventually the trail comes to Waterfall Bridge before reach the little used Dominion Rd Car Park. Next is a fast descent on improved gravels roads to the  Whakapapa River Bridge which makes for stunning views of the river and has a good swimming hole. There is also a toilet, small car park and picnic area. From here it’s only about 2km up the hill to Owhango and the Cafe.

Conditions:

You will get wet feet! The slippery clay in some sections of the ride as well as the river crossings make for this ride to be best done in dryer conditions. The rivers rise in winter and become very cold. Also after heavy rainfall you can expect to be in water well above your knees. In dryer conditions all the river crossings are rideable, but watch out for the rocks!

Navigation:

The trail is marked with DOC stakes/sings along the way. There is a mixture of new and old stakes long the trail. Use common sense and look at each intersection carefully as a couple of them can be a little unclear. Also bring a map as there are loads of intersecting trails on 42Traverse. Do not use the map on this website, it is not suitable for navigation on the trail. Use the NZ Topo50 maps and be sure you know which trail you need to follow.

The 42 Traverse is in a remote location and there is no mobile reception along the way. We advise you hire a guide or take a Personal Locator Beacon at minimum. There is no road access along the trail. Only quad bikes can drive through. Tell a friend where you are going and use common sense.

Logistics for this ride with a one-way shuttle:

Meet in Ohwango at Cafe 39 South (you park your car here)

Shuttle to Kapoors Road (40min)

Ride 47km back to your cars in Owhango (4 – 6hrs)

$90 per person

 

Logistics for this ride with a round trip (two-way) shuttle:

Shuttle from Taupo to Kapoors Road (1.5hrs)

Ride 47km to Owhango (4 – 6hrs)

Shuttle from Owhango Cafe 39 South to Taupo (2hrs)

$120 per person

 

Or, if you have a large group and are saying in National Park:

Shuttle from National Park to Kapoors Road (1.5hrs)

Ride 47km to Owhango (4 – 6hrs)

Shuttle from Owhango Cafe 39 South to National Park (2hrs)

$90 per person (min 8)

Hard tail (front suspension only): Specialised Rockhopper Expert ($1600 retail value)

  • $70 for one day

 

High-end full suspension mountain bikes: Specialised Camber Comp ($4000 retail value)

  • $120 for one day

E-bikes (electric mountain bikes) are available in hard tail and full suspension models. Ask us for more details and prices. Limited quantities available.

Our hire bikes come with a helmet, spare inner tube, tire levers, pump, and multi tool. The bikes come standard with flat pedals, but we can fit Shimano SPD pedals for you on request.

For your enjoyment, it is important that you hire the right size bike, so we are here to help. When you contact us to make your booking, we will gather the correct information to get you on the right size bike. Our hire bikes are high quality and you can be sure to have a great ride because they are cleaned, checked, and serviced between every use.

Bike hire is usually paired with transport services. However, we can provide bike hire only if you are looking for hire a full suspension bike for 2 or more days.

If you are booking a shuttle and bike hire, your bike will be on the shuttle ready to go at the time of pick up. You do not pick up your bike beforehand.

The best places to stay the nights before and after you ride are either Taupo or National Park Village. Staying at Whakapapa Village, Turangi, or Ohakune would also be good options.

Taupo is a very popular town and has loads of accommodation and dining options from budget to luxury. There are many holiday parks, motels, and hotels. National Park has a few lodges and there are lots of holiday houses (baches) available for rent, which can be economical if you have more than a couple of people.

We recommend you stay in Taupo and make the most of the huge variety of accommodation, cafes, restaurants, and other facilities available in our great town.

Ask us for accommodation recommendations, or we can include one of our preferred providers in your package.

Having a guide is a great way to maximise the enjoyment of your ride. The 42 Traverse is not the most well marked trail and there are lots of other tracks that go off of the route, so paying special attention is critical. Our expert guides will not only show you way and provide insight into our land, but also teach you some bike skills as we go.

On a guided ride you can be sure you are getting the most out of the experience. You won’t miss the best views, or a critical turn off, and you won’t need to worry about what to do in the event of a mechanical breakdown, or worse. With our guided experience you can be assured that you are in the best of care while in our remote wilderness.

ENQUIRE NOW about guided tours.

From the start (junction of Kapoors Rd and SH48) the first 6km of the ride is along a gently undulating gravel road up to the Slab Road Car Park. From there, the trail undulates for several kilometres before beginning the universally popular descent to the Waione Stream. The descent is fast and can be slippery in places. After the main stream crossing the largest climb of the ride begins. From the top of the climb the trail undulates for several more km and crosses more that are smaller than the Waione. Eventually the trail comes to Waterfall Bridge before reach the little used Dominion Rd Car Park. Next is a fast descent on improved gravels roads to the  Whakapapa River Bridge which makes for stunning views of the river and has a good swimming hole. There is also a toilet, small car park and picnic area. From here it’s only about 2km up the hill to Owhango and the Cafe.