Whanganui Loop

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Route Overview

General Overview
The Whanganui Loop is a full day trip following a loop road into the hills on the western side of Whanganui. At the middle of the loop a 'No Exit' road is followed to its end before returning to continue the loop back towards the coast. The final section is returning to Whanganui via some back roads inland from SH3.  The route starts and ends on tarmac, but is gravel or clay for much of the distance, and can be slippery in wet conditions.
The main appeal of this trip is the opportunity to explore a very isolated and scenic part of New Zealand on roads that are an interesting drive without being difficult enough to be threatening.  Like many back country routes the conditions can vary significantly with the weather. 
The trip can be done relatively easily in a full day, giving enough time to stop and enjoy the scenery and other attractions.
Start/Finish Point
The trip starts and finishes on Somme parade in Whanganui, and can be done in either direction.
Terrain includes
The sections of the route near Whanganui are tarmac, but the rest of the route is unsealed, being a mixture of gravel and clay surfaces, grades 1 or 2.  In most cases the surface is in good condition, but the area is prone to slips and fallen trees.  Where logging is being carried out the road is well built and wider but in wet weather there can be 50mm of soft, slushy mud on the surface giving poor traction.
The loop and No Exit road give a total distance of 165km.
Max Fuel Leg
Alllow fuel for 250km in case the road is closed by damage beyond the half way point.
Drive time
Most of the route is limited to about 30kph by the twisty and narrow conditions, and would take about 5.5 hours with minimal stops. 
Whanganui is an ideal base for this trip.  There are no camping facilities on the route.
Access Permission
The main loop is clearly a public road.  The run up the ridge is marked as an ungated public road on the topo map, and while it has a proliferation of Keep Out signs on the surrounding paddocks and two gates to pass, the road itself is a public road until the third gate that had a clear No Entry sign on it and leads into a paddock.
Access Limitations
While there are no legal access limitations, the steep terrain has the potential for slips, washouts and fallen trees blocking the road.
Preparation and Safety
Although this route is easy enough to run with a single vehicle, the isolation makes a minimum of two vehicles advisable, especially if following the ridge deviation.

Legs in this Expedition

Leg 1 <span>(11 photos)</span>
Leg 1 (11 photos)
Leg 2 <span>(4 photos)</span>
Leg 2 (4 photos)
Leg 3 <span>(7 photos)</span>
Leg 3 (7 photos)
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