After providing a private shuttle for my first group of Hikers at Mangetepopo, the start of the “Tongariro Crossing” and knowing I had at least 6 hours to kill as the crossing generally takes 6-8 hours for most to complete. I drove around to Horopeto one end of The Old Coach Road. One possible activity in Horopeto is a visit to Smash Palace which I did – a large area of old car wrecks in various states of ruin. For 5 dollars I got to have a walk around inside and see the vast amount of parts stacked high and wide. You would want to have some interest in cars to spend your $5 here which I do so no problems.. From smash palace, it is 2 minutes back to where I started the ride towards Ohakune. Initially, I thought this would be a good ride for the cross bike but that thought soon disappeared after some rough rocky sections.

The front suspension is a must for comfort on this one.  The ride is graded as a 2 and has some steep sections and was a bit muddy when I rode it. The highlights for me was the train loaded with people heading past just a few meters away from the trail and the old viaduct which you can ride over and back on. It is more downhill if you head from the Horopeto end to Ohakune. I rode there and back after a stop for a coffee and slice in Ohakune. Once back at Horopeto I loaded back up and headed into the national park to visit the train station cafe and wait for a message from the group to say they were nearly finished the Tongariro crossing. Wedges and another coffee rounded off my great day. I then headed to Ketetahi to pick up the group and shuttle them back to their accommodation in Taupo.