Ohakune to Horopito Coach Road

Engineering Work (eg road, bridge, sawmill, dam)


This road in the central North Island comprises stone paving and improvements on a track started in the 1880s. When the North Island Main Trunk railway was being constructed the road was upgraded for the all weather horsedrawn coach service which ran between the 39 kilometre gap separating the railheads. This service operated from late 1906 and the completion of rail link in November 1908.

The road is notable for its use of stone setts (which work in the same way as present day concrete block pavers). They were used as a solution to the twin problems of a great scarcity of tough roadstone in the area, and the need to carry high point wheeloads imposed by convoys of coaches in high rainfall bush terrain.

The original road was between Matapuna to Ohakune. Part was incorporated into what is now State Highway 4. The section between Horopito and Ohakune remains remarkably well-preserved, as part road, part walking track.

Heritage Recognition
This place has been recognised by Heritage New Zealand as a Category 1 historic place (List no.7574) and it is also part of the North Island Main Trunk (NIMT) Historic Area (List no.7793):


No Attachments


Ohakune to Horopito, generally following the North Island Main Trunk railway's route.

King Country / Central Volcanic Plateau

Access Info
The southern terminus is on Marshalls Road, Ohakune, (GR 227133995E;6198405N). The northern terminus is near Horopito (GR 2714975E; 6203685N). It runs alongside (and crosses) the North Island Main Trunk railway reserve. Development of safe public access is (October 2005) under way, but the ends of the road can be seen (a) at the Horopito end, where the its alignment is visible south of the ford on the road south from Horopito to the Haeremaiaea Stream, and (b) at the Ohakune end, where the alignment is visible on the south side of the existing rail track immediately west of the Station Road rail overbridge. The Ohakune Old Coach Road walking track is administered by the Department of Conservation. (www.doc.govt.nz)

Nature of Engineering
Infrastructure (incl. Road, water, ports)


Road between the Ohakune and Makatote rail-heads, 1909. Post and telegraph collection: Mainly mail coach photographs ca. 1880's.. Ref: 1/4-019577-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23162598

(Click image to enlarge )

Taonui viaduct, [ca 1905-1912]. Price, William Archer, 1866-1948: Collection of post card negatives. Ref: 1/2-000200-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23041047. The coach road can be seen running underneath the viaduct

(Click image to enlarge )

Lat: -39.399326 Long: 175.402479