Cyclists rejoice, a limited preview of the long-awaited Hūnua Traverse will open on Saturday 1 July in two sections.
The northern section can be accessed from Clevedon Village via Otau Mountain Road on weekends and public holidays only to avoid logging trucks. Alternate access to this 14km section is available from Moumoukai Hill Road, via Ness Valley.
The southern section encompasses 24km from Waterline Road to Kaiaua and will be accessible seven-days a week. It can be accessed from Mangatawhiri Valley via Moumoukai Road or from Kaiaua via Workman Road. This section of the Hūnua Traverse sees the reopening of Mangatangi Hill Road to the public, which has been closed since 2018 when a Controlled Area Notice was placed over the Hūnua Ranges Regional Park.
Hūnua Traverse Project Coordinator, Nicki Henshaw says it’s important that cyclists note that all side roads will remain closed to the public unless clearly marked otherwise.
“We’re delighted to have access to parts of the Hūnua Ranges Regional Park that have previously been closed to the public and we’re grateful to Watercare and the Regional Parks team for the work done to enable this. But it’s not carte blanche; most side roads remain strictly closed and are clearly signposted as such. Compliance officers will be enforcing this and non-compliance may result in fines.”
A slip on Keeney Road, caused by Cyclone Gabrielle, has prevented a full opening of the intended route at this time. The 6km section, along Plows Road & Keeney Road, between the northern and southern section remains strictly closed.
“We are working with key stakeholders to understand if and when additional roads may be opened to the public. A number of factors will be considered, including Watercare’s Regeneration Project operations, timing of harvesting operations and cyclists’ compliance with restricted access and bike washing requirements.”
The Hūnua Traverse is classified as a grade 4 cycle trail, suited to intermediate and advanced cyclists. Cyclists should expect steep, slippery hills and some sharp off-camber corners. The route can be ridden in both directions on shared roads. Cyclists should expect vehicles, including trucks and machinery at times, and pedestrian traffic as well as other cyclists. Cyclists must keep left at all times and control their speed; A good rule of thumb is to be able to stop within half your line of sight distance.
“With no cell phone reception along the majority of the Hūnua Traverse it’s very important that users take precautions to keep themselves safe. Most critically, this means riding to the conditions and sticking to the signposted route.”
The route follows public roads as well as unsealed Watercare service roads within the Hūnua Ranges Regional Park. Eventually the route will extend over 44km and encompass 1100m elevation gain.
At the northern end, riders should note that car parking is available in Clevedon village and at the top of Moumoukai Hill Road but there is strictly no car parking at the top of Otau Mountain Road as parked cars block the turning circle required for service and emergency vehicles.
Temporary closures of the Hūnua Traverse may be required at times to accommodate forestry operations, pest control, maintenance or on occasion to mitigate fire risk during the fire season. Riders should check the Hūnua Traverse website for up-to-date access information.
The Hūnua Traverse has been funded by the Franklin Local Board and is delivered in partnership with Watercare, Auckland Regional Parks and Ngā Haerenga NZCT.