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18km, 3-5 hours, Grade 3-4 (Intermediate to Advanced)
Suitable for: Regular cyclists with a good level of fitness.
Things to be aware of: Potential for cold and wet weather around the exposed South Coast section. Quite challenging trail conditions with rocky and sandy sections. There is little or no cell phone coverage around the South Coast. Ensure you are carrying enough food as there are no shops on this part of the trail.
The final section of the trail runs along the South Coast of the North Island, with the Cook Strait on your left and hill country to your right . On a clear day, the snow-capped peaks of the South Island’s Kaikoura Ranges are visible across the water.
Much of the land is part of the Orongorongo Station, one of the oldest established operations in the country. The landscape is one of stark and rugged beauty, but do keep an eye on the weather while planning and riding, as this section is exposed to southerly winds off the ocean.
The southernmost point of the trail is at Turakirae Head, where riders will find the unique geological formation of the raised beaches. Formed by a series of tectonic uplifts over the past 7000 years, three of the five ‘beaches’ are visible as distinct ridges on the coastline.
The headland is also home to a colony of up to 500 fur seals each winter.
The trail then runs north to the mouth of the Orongorongo River where the Wainuiomata Coast Road provides a road link back to the city of Wellington.