2 Days 85 km

Highlights

  • Amazing forest
  • Captivating history
  • Spectacular bridges

Proximity

Grade 2-3

Easy - Intermediate

Venture deep into Pureora – a treasured forest full of ancient trees, birdlife, graceful suspension bridges, and Māori and European stories stretching back through the centuries.

Nature-lovers and history buffs will be utterly captivated by this unforgettable ride through a magical forest in the heart of the King Country. It’s a journey of secrets and surprises – from abandoned timber-milling relics, bush tramways and suspension bridges, to memorable accommodation at the trail’s halfway point. This is a deep wilderness experience achievable by competent riders of most ages, and one of the most naturally inspiring Ngā Haerenga Great Rides of New Zealand.

Taupō
The Timber Trail, Taupō

Ride experience

Pureora Forest Park’s dramatic natural and human history unfolds along this journey, best enjoyed over two days to discover its secrets and soak up its deep-forest vibe. 

An easy to intermediate adventure trail suitable for mountain bikes (and e-mountain-bikes), there plenty of flowing riding as it follows old logging roads and tramlines linked with smooth new singletrack. 

The Great Ride runs between the tiny settlements of Pureora and Ongarue. Around halfway, the old Piropiro timber-milling settlement is a wonderful place to wander and wind down on an overnight stop. 

Usually ridden from north to south, the trail climbs steadily up Mt Pureora with an optional walking detour to the epic summit lookout. Tracking across the Hauhungaroa Range, it crosses a series of gorges on some of the longest suspension bridges in New Zealand – highlights of the entire Great Rides network. 

Intriguing relics and storyboards reveal Pureora’s remarkable stories of the natural world, mana whenua (local Māori people) and timber-milling history. In the bush, birdlife flourishes thanks to the hard work of passionate conservationists.  

Other highlights include the crazy old tractor crawler, ethereal cloud forest, and the engineering marvel known as the Ongarue spiral. But there are so many amazing sights on the Timber Trail that that you’ll surely wish to return to ride it twice, or more. 

 

Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails Official Website

A detailed description of this Great Ride, including maps and more information, can be found here.

Timber Trail(opens in new window)

Whanganui
Timber Trail, Whanganui

Need to know

  • This remote trail is mostly grade 2 (easy), being wide and smooth. Some decent climbs and more technical sections, however, push it to grade 3 (intermediate) and make it most suitable for reasonably fit, experienced cyclists. E-mountain-bikes are welcome and can be charged at the halfway point at accommodation providers (power is not available at the DOC campsite).
  • The trailheads are located at the small settlements of Pureora (near Maniaiti/Benneydale) and Ongarue, with Taumarunui, Te Kuiti, Waitomo and Taupō being popular launching points for adventure.
  • Best enjoyed over two days with an overnight stop at Piropiro, the trail can also be ridden as a one-day ride by choosing one section, or taking a return trip from one of the three trailheads. Keen, fit riders may be able to complete the whole trail in one day.
  • This remote trail is well signposted, but riders should carry a map and be prepared for all eventualities. The trail passes through a mountain environment, with a highpoint 971m above sea level, so warm clothing and wet-weather gear are essential regardless of the forecast.
  • Riders should also take plenty of food and water, although there are some water supplies along the way for topping up. Toilets and shelters are located at convenient intervals.
Taupō
The Timber Trail, Taupō

Transport & tours

Bike hire, shuttles and accommodation can be arranged with Epic Cycle Adventures(opens in new window), and Timber Trail Shuttle & Bike Hire(opens in new window), both located in Ongarue. Taupō-based FourB(opens in new window) offer shuttles, bike hire and fully guided tours on the Timber Trail, Great Lake Trails and other rides around Taupō. 

Timber Trail’s official partners can be found on the Great Rides of New Zealand(opens in new window) and official Timber Trail(opens in new window) websites. 

Accommodation

An overnight stop at Piropiro is sure to be memorable thanks to a range of atmospheric accommodation. Packages with meals and transport are offered by Timber Trail Lodge(opens in new window), and by Black Fern Lodge(opens in new window) (self-catering also available) in its lovely bushy setting. Satisfying, self-catered glamping is available at Camp Epic(opens in new window), which offers transport options too, while there’s basic camping at the spacious DOC campsite(opens in new window). 

Other accommodation partners can be found on the The Timber Trail(opens in new window) and Great Rides of New Zealand(opens in new window) websites. 

 

Useful links

Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails(opens in new window)

Timber Trail(opens in new window) 

Visit Ruapehu(opens in new window) 

Hamilton and Waikato (opens in new window)

Great Rides app - Timber Trail(opens in new window)

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