This track continues to follow the true left of the Mangapurua Stream before descending towards the Bridge to Nowhere. Common features as you move along the valley are the rows of exotic trees that mark the road and the house sites. About an hour from Hellawell's is Battleship Bluff, named for a feature across the Mangapurua Stream, resembling the prow of an old battleship. The bluff posed the greatest difficulty for the early road builders. Two years were spent terracing the bluff from the top using gelignite.
Continue along the track which dips and climbs crossing streams and small bridges down the valley. Almost out of nowhere you will turn the corner onto the Historic Bridge to Nowhere. This is the large concrete bridge completed in 1936, which now stands abandoned in bush literally in the middle of Nowhere. By the time the bridge was constructed, the lower valley had been abandoned by the settlers. From the concrete bridge you can see the remains of the old suspension bridge used between 1920 and 1936. This old bridge and its two predecessor wire cages were vital to the initial settlers for the transport of all supplies.
Time: 1 hr 30 minutes Walking, 45 minutes Cycling
Distance: 5.7 kms.
The tracks can be accessed from either Whakahoro or Ruatītī Road. Whakahoro is reached by road from State Highway 4, turning off at either Owhango or Raurimu. Ruatītī Road end is access from Ruatītī Road, north of Raetihi on State Highway 4. River transport is necessary to and from the Mangapurua Landing and jetboats can be hired to carry your party either to Pipiriki or back to Whakahoro.
Today these valley are regenerating in native forest, but there are still signs of the original settlement for visitors to see, including the Bridge to Nowhere.
High numbers of goats, low to medium numbers of fallow deer, red deer and pigs are present. Special restrictions apply and a permit is required.
Mountain Biking & Cycling
This section is part of the unique heritage Mountain to the Sea cycle trail. A highlight of the trail is to cycle across the Bridge to Nowhere.
Places to Stay
Apart from the 10 bunk bunkroom at Whakahoro Campsite, there are no huts along the track. There are several suitable camping areas available on the open grassy flats, with small side streams providing water. Where practical and to minimise impacts we recommend camping at sites where DOC has provided toilets.
Plan & Prepare
Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip. Cyclists are urged to observe the weather conditions and seek advice as wet slippery conditions may be experienced at times, particularly during winter and early spring.