Nearly 100 years later, in 2002, only a few people knew that an old overgrown road existed in the bush above Ohakune. Why it was there had long been forgotten.

In October 2002, John McIlroy, a local deer hunter who knew where some of the road was, took Errol Vincent and Mike Ryan bush bashing along the overgrown, mostly hidden Skyline Section.

Department of Conservation historians supported research of official government documents for clues as to why the road was there.

The six monthly Public Works Department reports to government revealed the official story of the railway and the coach road.

Further research was undertaken at Archives New Zealand and Alexander Turnbull Library in June 2003.


The information collected was presented in submissions to New Zealand Historic Places Trust and to Tongariro National Park Board, requesting that this historic road be recognised and preserved as an important part of New Zealand's development.

Historic Places Trust gave the road their highest Category 1 Classification. Tongariro National Park Board agreed to treat the road as a managed site.

Now the road must be protected and not allowed to deteriorate.


In 2005 local people and representatives from Tongariro National Park formed a committee to manage the restoration of the road.

Clearing proceeded slowly, with help from Ohakune 2000, Tongariro Natural History Society members and others keen to see the road opened.

When the Ohakune Coach Road was chosen as part of Prime Minister John Key's Great New Zealand cycleway programme, government funding became available.

The road was cleared, drains opened, bridges built and new cycle tracks created.