From the shopping centre in Waipukurau, head south on Porangahau Road; there's a cycle lane to begin with.
After leaving town the road weaves across rolling farmland, past the Wanstead Hotel and Wallingford Rest Area before rolling into Porangahau, 45 kilometres from Waipukurau. This small village has a beautiful old hotel and a store. There are toilets at the far end of town.
From Porangahau, backtrack for 1km to head up Wimbledon Road to Wimbledon Tavern, a lovely pub with accommodation, 21km away. On the way, you will pass a signpost marking the longest place name in the world – the unassuming hill known as Taumata whakatangi hangakoauau o tamatea turi pukakapiki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua kitanatahu (which translates into English as the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as ‘landeater’, played his flute to his loved one). Locals simply call it Taumata Hill.
From Wimbledon, Route 52 heads west and over the biggest hill of the ride. Expect to be climbing for around 20 minutes. On the other side you will pass Waione where there is a hall with a good verandah to shelter under if necessary but not much else.
The next village is Pongaroa (45km from Wimbledon), which has a great tavern and cafe, plus a dairy cooking up basic takeaways.
About 10.5km south of Pongaroa is Glenross Lodge and Backpackers, a popular overnight destination for cyclists.
The final leg of Route 52, Glenross Lodge to Masterton, is 81km long and is also across a farming landscape of rolling hills. After 11km, you will reach Tiraumea Hall, which has public toilets. Then 35km from Glenross Lodge, you’ll reach Alfredton.
At Alfredton School, turn left to stay on Route 52. One hundred metres past the school there is a driveway on the right that leads down to the Alfredton Domain where you can find water, toilets and camping.
The last 46km from Alfredton to Masterton is a great stretch of riding, being mostly downhill.
On the edge of Masterton is the Pointon Heritage Car Collection, displaying vehicles that all have a relationship to the Wairarapa. The owners will take you through on a guided tour of the vehicles, which in turn tell the stories of the region.
River Grove Olives, Gordon Street (opposite Henley Lake) has modern accommodation overlooking the working olive grove.
A helpful source of information about this ride, and other Heartland Rides, is Classic New Zealand Cycle Trails by the Kennett Brothers.
Source: The New Zealand Cycle Trail
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From the shopping centre in Waipukurau, head south on Porangahau Road., -40.1621, 176.5568