The Mangaweka Bridge over the Rangitikei River divides the districts of Rangitikei and Manawatu.
The access road is just north of Mangaweka, where travellers turn onto Ruahine Road, the start of The Manawatu Scenic Route, continuing east a short distance before arriving at the bridge. There is quite a history behind this historic bridge built in 1904 and the only cantilever road bridge left in New Zealand. It also had the unfortunate status of waiting 114 years before its official opening.
This finally took place on the 7th March 2015.
Watch the video below about this unique bridge's story.
Its life as a functional bridge has been under threat. Because of safety concerns, the weight restriction was reduced to 6000 kgs, meaning vehicles any larger than a medium-sized motorhome could no longer cross the bridge.
The Rangitikei & Manawatu District Councils have agreed to build a brand new bridge downstream from the existing bridge.
But what of the old bridge's fate? Mangaweka Heritage enthusiasts have argued it is the only one of its kind left in New Zealand and should be kept as a tourist icon allowing foot traffic & cyclists to enjoy the marvellous river views, papa cliffs and surrounding beauty.
After much consultation, including public submissions, Manawatu District Council voted on 22nd August 2019 to keep the bridge.
So now the Mangaweka Bridge Trust can start promoting the bridge as a tourist icon.
Awastone sits either side of the bridge, which will be the connection between the main accommodation and restaurant situated on the east side of the bridge with the Mangaweka Campground situated on the west side.