Forces of nature defeated servicemen returned from World War One. Visit the bridge they left behind in the "valley of abandoned dreams". A wooden swing bridge was constructed across the Mangapurua Stream in 1919. This connected the isolated valley with the riverboats that brought goods along the Whanganui River. However the settlers had always expected that roading access would be improved - a more solid bridge would be built and that it would form part of a road between Raetihi and Taranaki.
Planning for the new bridge started when the timber bridge began to rot. In 1936 the new steel-reinforced concrete bridge was finally opened. It was an impressive sight at nearly 40 metres above the river within the steep ravine walls. Today, you can still see the remains of the old swing bridge from the concrete bridge that replaced it.
You can reach the Bridge to Nowhere by jet boating or canoeing the Whanganui River from either Pipiriki or Whakahoro to the Mangapurua Landing. From there, it's a gentle 40 minute walk to the bridge site. Alternatively you can tramp or bike from Whakahoro via the Kaiwhakauka and Mangapurua Valleys.