Ongarue — Taumarunui (2 hours, 24km)
This is a quiet gravel road from the end/start of the Timber Trail in Ongarue, one of the Great Rides of Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail, to Taumarunui, a small railway town with plenty of shops and accommodation.
It provides a functional link for those using public transport and/or accommodation in Taumarunui before or after riding the Timber Trail.
RIDING THE TRAIL
From Taumarunui, start at the west end of town by taking Short Street north on to Golf Road.
Ride past the Tuhuia Domain on to the Ongarue Back Road, which leads all the way to Ongarue and the start of the Timber Trail.
Trail surface: 45% sealed / 55% gravel
Buses and the Overlander train go to Taumarunui.
Best time to ride: any time of year
Te Kuiti to the Timber Trail-Connector Rides
Te Kuiti to Pureora Information Centre
Distance 55km Time 3-4 hours Grade 5( Expert fro traffic)
If you want to connectthe dot between Te Kuiti, at the end of Kawhia to Waitomo Caves heartland ride and the Timber Trail, this is the easiest route.
From Te Kuiti there is only one direct route to Pureora- along Highway 30. It has 700 trucks and cars per day( 20% are logging trucks).There is no shoulder on the edge of the road,so you need to be traffic savvy or ride on weekends or public holidays when there are few trucks. From Te Kuiti shopping centre, head south-east on Highway 30 and follow it all the way to Bennydale (34kms away). Bennydale has a store, cafe and pub. Cafe also has accommodation an oasis of European culture check out www.artdoc.co.nz ph 07 878 4780 or for accommodation www.bnblive.com. From Bennydale follow Highway 30 for another 13km before turning right onto Mareroa Road. After passing the Pa Harakeke ( cafe,chalet accommodation and cultural centre 07 929 8708 www.paharakeke.co.nz, turn left and follow signs to the Pukeora Information centre( approx 55km from Te Kuiti) The last 4km from the highway are gravel. A shuttle may come in the future ask at the Te Kuiti I-SITE 07 878 8077
Waikato River Trail to Timber Trail Link
Mangakino to Pureora information Centre Distance 54km Time 56 hours Grade 4( Advanced)
Adventure MTB cyclists will enjoy this link for its remoteness and scenic beauty. It also passes the topographical centre of the North Island.
From the Mangakino Lakefront Reserve, follow the Waikato River Trail towards Whakamaru for approx 6-7kms, a few minutes after crossing Mangakino Stream via a large swing bridge, turn right up a gravel road. Within a few hundred metres you will pass some public toilets and Wakamaru Reserve and then reach the highway. Wait for a gap in the traffic and turn left and sprint down the highway till you pass around a blind corner. Just after the corner, carefully cross to Mc Donald Road. Head up Mc Donald road for 7km,turn left at Sandel Road, then right at Henderson, right at Arataki and right at Titraupanga Track, This leads to a narrow swing bridge crossing Mangakino Stream again. On the far side, cross a small gully and take the next right along an old forestry road. At the first YMCA camp sign, turn left onto a maintained gravel road (Titiraupenga Road). At the next YMCA camp sign, turn right.Then, when you see a ‘Centre of the North Island’sign, turn right and ride a few hundred metres( including a cool, single track) to the sign of topograpical significance. Head back to the main road and follow it to Link Road, 3.5km away. Turn rightat Link Road and stay onit all the way to the start of the Timber Trail at Pureora.
Note: You can short cut a few kilometres of the Timber Trail by turning left at the ‘Historic Tractor’ track sign. There is a shelter at the tractor.
TIMBER TRAIL LINK
Ongarue to Taumarunui
Distance 25km Time 1-2 hours Grade 3
Here is a easy ride from the Timber Trail to the town of Taumarunui and verios options for public transport homeward.
From Ongarue, at the southern end of the Timber Trail, ride south on Ongarue Back Road for 24km, it is gravel for the first half with a few rolling hills. It is signposted with New Zealand Cycle Trail signs. Ongarue Back Road passes a marae, then,on the outshirt of Taumarunui, it turns into Golf Road. then turn right into Short Street to ride underneath the main trunk railway line to the main street of town.The shops are on the left. There is a good cafe on the corner or, if you prefer, a big bakery further down the road.