The ride started with a one-hour uphill grind until we reached the entrance to Whanganui, the country’s newest national park, established in 1986. We passed a quarry and an old explosives cave near Mangapurua Trig, the trail’s highest point at 2,175 feet. Take a short detour to this overlook on a clear day for dynamite views of Tongariro National Park (the country’s first national park, established in 1887) to the east.
Pictured: The 200-mile Mountains to Sea Trail starts on the slopes of Mt. Ruapehu (back left) in Tongariro National Park and passes through two national parks and dramatic wilderness.