Cost to build




Visitors to date


Tauwharenikau Trail weather
Tauwharenikau Trail
5:12 am, 28th Feb 2024
temperature icon 16°C
overcast clouds
Humidity Humidity: 89 %
Pressure Pressure: 1010 mb
Wind Wind: 4 Km/h
Wind Gust Wind Gust: 12 Km/h
Clouds Clouds: 90%
Visibility Visibility: 0 km
Sunrise Sunrise: 6:57 am
Sunset Sunset: 8:05 pm

Location and Elevation of the Tauwharenikau Trail

The success of the Greytown Rail Trail has sparked a wider discussion about creating a network of cycle/walking trails throughout the entire Wairarapa valley. Working with a planning group known as “WAITAG” (the Wairarapa Trails Action Group), a plan for trails throughout the region has been developed. To read more about the plan, visit the Wairarapa Five Towns Trail website.

The first leg of that plan joins the Greytown Rail Trail with a new section to Featherston. The trail uses quiet, mostly gravel back roads, off road trails, and a new bridge across the Tauwharenikau River. The bridge is one of the longest cycle path suspension bridges in the country. Located in a high wind zone and braced to a large rail bridge, the Tauwharenikau bridge posed real challenges for design and construction.

The Trust wanted to ensure that the development cost did not place a burden on the ratepayers of South Wairarapa District council. Funding for the bridge and new off-road trails was secured in 2020 as part of a government initiative to develop regional infrastructure. Construction was completed at the end of 2022.

The new trail enables users to travel safely from Featherston to Woodside. There they join the Rail Trail to Greytown without competing with heavy traffic on State Highway 2.

Tauwharenikau Trail Usage

People are increasingly visiting the new Tauwharenikau Trail. Now that it’s no longer a construction zone, we can share user numbers from when the counter was first installed. Again, the early popularity is stunning – we thought we might get 5000 users in the first full year, increasing to 10,000 annually over the next year or two. Imagine what the user numbers will be when the trail leads to a network extending throughout the beautiful valley where we live.


The bridge has been designed and built by Abseil Access Ltd. They have designed and built more than 100 suspension bridges in New Zealand and overseas. The bridge design and construction have been independently verified as Code Compliant. The bridge was load tested during construction, and there is a programme of regular safety inspections.

There is a risk, particularly for cyclists, of being blown against the side of the bridge in strong winds. 

The bridge side barriers are verified as complying with Standards New Zealand Handbook “Tracks and Outdoor Visitor Structures”. The applicable section of the Outdoor Structures Code says that this type of wire barrier is suitable for use by families with young children. However, the bridge is not suitable for small children to play on or use unsupervised. The greatest risk to children is from using the wires like a ladder to climb up and over the handrail and the structure is designed to make that more difficult.