This is a kiwi must do. Built in the mid-1930s, to provide road access to the lower and middle valley farms known as the Mangapurua Valley Soldiers Settlement, the Bridge to Nowhere stands as a poignant memorial to the abandoned hopes and dreams of the returning World War I servicemen who braved this remote area. Attempting to transform the virgin native forest into farmland, these pioneer settlers eventually bent to the will of the land, abandoning titles due to the area's difficult access for trading and the onset of the Great Depression.
By the time the bridge was completed these areas of the Mangapurua Valley were deserted, the bridge was rarely used and the construction of the road to the Whanganui River was abandoned. The 'Bridge to Nowhere is the largest and most intact structure relating to the former Mangapurua Valley Soldiers Settlement and has an Historic Places Trust Category I listing.
The Bridge to Nowhere is these days accessed by several different methods and all ages and fitness levels can put this on the to-do list. You can take a day tour on a jetboat to the Mangapurua Landing on the Whanganui River, followed by a 40 minute lovely, flat walk on a well-maintained path through native forest for lunch on the bridge. Most of the river operators also offer a kayak or canoe component to the tour if you'd like to try that on the way back downriver to add to the experience.
Another option is to ride to the Bridge to Nowhere from Whakahoro or Ruatiti either as a day ride or part of the Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail.
However, you choose to visit the Bridge to Nowhere we guarantee it will be a moment in time you'll never forget.