42 Traverse

Known as the greatest mountain bike ride in the North Island, the 42 Traverse follows an old logging road through some of the most remote and rugged land in New Zealand.

The 42 Traverse is a remote and rugged adventure ride through what used to be known as State Forest 42. It is best ridden during summer, but when the mountains have snow on them you get some stunning views. The unmaintained 4WD trail can have some decent ruts and washouts on it so take your time. It can be challenging in wet weather so make sure you’ve got appropriate tyres and all the spare gear for adventure riding.

Although the 46km long trail with an overall descent of 520 meters sounds easy, it is usually rather rutted making it enjoyable for experienced riders, however it is not technical and would be achievable by most intermediate riders as well. It is easily completed as a day trip from any of the nearby towns such as Taupo, Turangi, Ohakune, Raetihi or National Park.

You can expect to be riding for between 4 and 6 hours. The track can get very muddy (sticky gear muddy) and also has a few river crossings. It would pay not to ride the 42 Traverse at the end of winter after some rains where snow melt and heavy rain might make the rivers impassable - and a long uphill grind back to the road start!

The 42 Traverse covers an extremely remote sub-alpine part of New Zealand where the weather can change fast. There are very few alternative ways out once you reach the Tongariro Forest, so pick your days if you are inexperienced to this type of riding in New Zealand and carry all the essential food, clothes, and bike repair equipment.

Getting There

The start of this New Zealand bike tour is at the junction of Kapoors Road and State Highway 47 which is 18km north of National Park Village. About 6 kilometers up Kapoors Road is a car park and a DOC sign marking the start of the track. It’s well marked along the way with dark green posts in the area surrounding most major intersections.

The views of the volcanic plateau are phenomenal including Mt Ngauruhoe (Mt Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies), Mt Ruapehu and Mt Tongariro (which gives its name to the National Park itself). 

Key Information

 Distance   40km-50km 
 Grade  3
 Time Required   4-7 hrs
 Phone Coverage   Limited 
 Toilets  No
 Shuttle  Yes (pickup and return to car services). Book shuttle services prior to departure. 
 See the shuttles and guides page for more information.

Download the printable PDF of this 42 Traverse information.

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