In 1917 the Government opened up the valley for settlement by servicemen returning from the great war. About 35 holdings were developed.The first job was to clear virgin bush.
Bridging the Mangapurua stream was always a problem, a swing bridge was the early access, but a better bridge was promised, the replacement bridge, now known as THE “BRIDGE TO NOWHERE” was eventually started in 1935, opened in June 1936. After a major flood in January 1942 funds were declined for maintenance, eventually the valley was officially closed in May 1942.
It’s past history has so many stories to tell and all that remains is it’s beauty of abandoned farmland regenerating back to it’s natural podocarp forest and a bridge built in the middle of nowhere with reminders of past memories of those families who once lived there and decaying remnants of once was treasures and old home sites of the Returned Soldiers in that era of the Riverboats.
This tour is one of the most memorable experiences that brings you so close to an era of the past and present time, a tour that will surprise you with special thoughts of what might have been?
The tour departs from Pipiriki with a 55 minute jet boat journey upriver 32 kms to the Mangapurua Landing, through an area of spectacular natural features with deep river gorges covered with green tree ferns and lush native vegetation. With your guide we will take you on an easy grade 40 minute walk from the Mangapurua landing following in the footsteps of the early pioneers along the old roadway to the “BRIDGE TO NOWHERE” where you will stop for lunch on this historical monument of a bygone era and learn the history from your local guide.
The tour then includes Jet boat back down river 22kms and do an unguided 2 hours canoe or kayak (last 10 kms) back to Pipiriki stopping and exploring along the way.
This tour is available only during the summer months of October to April and is dependant on conditions.