I am here to ride the Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail, a 231km trail through Ruapehu and Whanganui which is one of 22 Great Rides of the New Zealand Cycle Trail. After an overnight in Ohākune, I shuttle 15km to Horopito to begin on the Old Coach Road, close to Horopito Motors. The sprawling vehicle graveyard is probably better known to cinema buffs as Smash Palace, featuring in the 1980s movie of the same name, as well as Goodbye Pork Pie.
The ride will take us through locations important to New Zealand’s history, with informative signposts along the way.
At the trailhead, I read that Old Coach Road was formed in 1906 for coaches to bridge the gap between rail lines ending in Raurimu, in the north, and Ohākune in the south. As we ride the trail, juddering here and there on setts, the old handmade cobblestones that remain, we discover stories of the railway construction.
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