Starting at the gateway of the Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail at Ohakune Junction, this route traverses the volcanic plateau and quiet valleys it heads to the town of Taihape where the Gentle Annie Heartland Ride links in.
A lack of road shoulder on the west side of the SH1 section means this ride should only be ridden from north to south.
From Ohakune Railway Station, cross the railway line on Ohakune Mountain Road and turn right on Railway Row. After 1 km, re-cross the railway line and turn left down Dreadnought Road and cycle to Rangataua village.
Head down Marino Road to SH49. Turn left and ride along the highway to Karioi Station Road (note that the highway is narrow in places, so ride with care and if possible ride it when traffic is light, i.e. early in the morning or during lunch time).
From the intersection with Karioi Station Road, take SH49 southeast for 200 metres, then turn right into Whangaehu Valley Road.
Around the 25km mark from Ohakune is a left turn up Owhakura Road. Follow Owhakura Road to Rangiwaea Junction.
From Rangiwaea Junction, turn right down Turakina Valley Road. Turn left onto Ruanui Road, and climb away from the Turakina Valley to Mataroa.
Ride through Mataroa village and follow Mataroa Road to SH1, almost 4km away.
The next 3km takes you along SH1 to the outskirts of Taihape. Approximately 300 metres of this stretch of highway have a narrow shoulder and must be ridden with care, keeping as far left as practicable (i.e. left of the white shoulder line).
A helpful source of information about this ride, and other Heartland Rides, is Classic New Zealand Cycle Trails by the Kennett Brothers.
Source: The New Zealand Cycle Trail