“One of the North Island's premier tracks through one of the most remote areas in New Zealand. - Peter Blakeman

The route is popular for a range of outdoor recreation activities: mountain biking, quad and trail biking, four wheel driving (summer only), horse riding, fishing, hunting and hiking. 4WD vehicles are not permitted in the winter.

The 42 Traverse follows an old logging road for much of its duration through what was previously known as State Forest 42. It travels through some of the most remote land in New Zealand.
Although the track is primarily a vehicle trail with an overall descent of 520 meters, it is usually rather rutted making it enjoyable for experienced riders that prefer something different. However, it is not technical and would be achievable by most intermediate riders with good fitness.

The ride usually takes between four and six hours. The track can get very muddy and can cause havoc with your gears. There are also a few river crossings along the route.

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 plan your ride carefully. There is no mobile phone coverage for most of the track.

The start of the 42 Traverse is at the junction of Kapoors Road and State Hwy 47, which is 18 km north of National Park Village. It’s well marked along the way with dark green posts near most intersections. The trail ends with a steep climb to the small town of Owhango, on State Hwy 4.

The views of the volcanic plateau are phenomenal including Mt. Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies), Mt Ruapehu, and Mt Tongariro.

Learn more about this trail on the MTB Project website


TCB's Notes:

46km 4-7 hours one way (including 20km of hill climbs, 2km of technical downhill.)

A legendary ride. Ensure you take a repair kit and spare tubes with you as well as the usual supplies for a long ride.

Useful map: Topo Map Raurimu NZMS 260.219

Begin at Kapoors Rd (turn off State Highway 4 at National Park onto State Highway 47, Kapoors Rd is on the left past the turnoff to Whakapapa.) The ride finishes at a campsite near the small settlement of Owhango.

You will need to leave a car at either end (with the attendant security risk) unless you arrange a pick up and drop off with one of the local companies offering this service - e.g. Your friends here at TCB! Unless you know the area already, a map is essential (see above).

Drive down Kapoors Rd until you find a fork off to the right (marked by DOC markers just before and after the intersection). Follow the DOC markers and your map for the rest of the ride.

Heading off along Kapoors Rd, you have a generally gentle downhill ride for about 6km along an easy gravel road.

Then you turn onto Slab Rd, which has its ups and downs, and which becomes more of a 4WD track. There are one or two turn offs, so keep the map ready, although most of the time it is relatively obvious where you are going as there are markers and you should check for these after each turnoff.

There soon follows a great ride downhill to the Waione river. Take care around the 23 or 24 or so KM mark. You go up a very short steep pitch on dirt, shoot over the top, go slightly left and there is a great short steep downhill with a good-sized pool at the bottom.

The track surface varies from gravel to mud, some stream crossings and there are the inevitable up-hills. The scenery is absolutely spectacular from wide vistas of all three volcanoes to lush unspoiled bush.

Use extreme caution if it has been raining heavily or if the weather looks doubtful (the Waione stream is very swift and fast flowing when low, in flood or when it is high - vehicles get swept away.)