The bush-lined Whanganui and Ongarue rivers welcome visitors to the Ruapehu District's largest town. Known for its railway history, farming, weaving and more recently cycle trails, Taumarunui also prides itself on being the start of the Whanganui journey.
Since the early 1900’s Taumarunui has been known as “the heart of the King Country” and even has a song about its early rail history: “Taumarunui on the Main Trunk Line”. As the meeting place of the Whanganui and Ongarue rivers, Taumarunui was an important centre in Maori history and was originally a Maori settlement and junction for canoe routes.
During the Winter months Taumarunui can be a popular base for skiers and snowboarders, at only a forty-five minute drive to Whakapapa Ski Area.
For golf lovers the Taumarunui golf course is listed amongst the country’s top 50 out of more than 400.
Situated west of Taumarunui, this previous coal-mining centre is a real step back in time, complete with one or two colourful characters, a museum and a new railcart adventure.
The Timber Trail from Piropiro flats to Ongarue is a fantastic mountain bike ride or walk, following much of the Ongarue bush tram system. Ongarue represents an important part of the timber industry and early pioneering. The old tram route with its numerous cuttings, embankments and stream crossings winds through picturesque native bush. A highlight is the impressive Ongarue Spiral, a real triumph of bush engineering, comprises a lower-level bridge, a very deep cutting, a curved tunnel, a complete circle of track and an over-bridge.