DATE: (Advised 5 December 2017)

ISSUE:  Please note there is a temporary forestry diversion in place for the Timber Trail during the month of January 2018.  Specific details of closures, Trail section and DOC contact can be found here.

Pureora — Ongarue (2 days, 85km)


DATE: 27 October 2017

ISSUE: Timber Trail OPEN

Following the recent rock fall closure, the trail is now open. For up to date alerts visit the DOC website – Timber Trail Page.

Rejuvenate your spirit with a ride through the ancient forests of the Timber Trail and expect to be wowed by the views.

Following old tramlines and specially designed track, the trail is a perfect weekend destination right in the centre of the North Island within easy reach of most of its main centres.

You’ll be amazed by the incredible scenery courtesy of eight large suspension bridges,the splendour of the forest, and the sounds of birdcalls as you meander 85km across the middle of the North Island.

Be Prepared

It doesn’t take long to plan. We’ve developed a guide with the NZ Mountain Safety Council to help you. Read and download the guide FREE and ensure you’re prepared for the following.

The Timber Trail is a backcountry adventure and a measure of fitness will ensure you enjoy the ride and minimise any muscular injuries. Parts of the trail are quite remote and will require riders to be self-reliant or hire a guide.

  • The trail rises to 980m above sea level and can be cold, even on a summer’s day. Riders are encouraged to carry warm clothing and wet weather gear at all times.
  • There are minimal water stops along the trail – they include drinking water from a stream. Although the water is clean you may choose to carry water purification tablets.
  • Cellphone coverage is minimal along the length of the trail.
  • There are limited toilets along the trail.
  • Riders are encouraged to carry an emergency locator beacon.

The Timber Trail begins in Pureora Forest Village and is accessed off SH30 between Te Kuiti and Mangakino. The trail may also be ridden from Ongarue, which can be accessed off SH4 between Te Kuiti and Taumarunui. For cyclists wishing to ride a day section, a third option is to begin in the middle of the trail at Piropiro campsite on Kokomiko Road.

Trail brochures, including maps, may be obtained online or from DOC offices nationwide.

Weather Info

The trail rises to sub-alpine altitude and the weather can never be taken for granted at that level.

Always ensure you carry wet weather gear and warm clothing regardless of the time of year you are cycling. The weather can change rapidly at high altitudes and hypothermia may hit before you or your team have an opportunity to seek help.

Timber Trail  Itinerary:

Stage 1: Pureora Information Centre to the first shelter

8.5km, 1-2 hours, Grade 2+ ( Easy)

This first section is ideal for those looking for a short there-and-back ride. From the Pureora information centre, ride 200 metres east and will see the track signpost beside the road ( opposite the picnic area).Just follow  the little signposts at every intersection, and you can’t go wrong.The trail goes through ecologically important virgin forest for the first 4km and then a mix of exotic and regenerating native forest. There is a track off to the left at approx  3.4km, leading to a historic bulldozer under a large shelter. The trail climbs gently all the way to MT Pureora.The first  trail shelter is right beside the track and affords expansive views of the area. You can either turn around here or carry on up the flanks of Mt Pureora into the cloud forest.

Stage 2: First shelter to Piropiro Flats ( or Black Fern Lodge)

31.5km, 3-5 hours, Grade 3( Intermediate)

From the first shelter, the trail becomes steeper in places. With loaded bikes some riders may have to walk short sections. The intensely green and twisted cloud forest on this section is stunning. After 14km of climbing, you will reach the highest point of the ride. About 13km from the first shelter, you will cross a 115-metre suspension bridge over Bog Inn Creek, followed by a 109- metre bridge over Orauhora Creek. Shortly after, you will meet the Old Angels Res logging Road. At Harrisons Creek, 2.5km further on, you will reach a rest area with a toilet. After a few hundreds metres,a short track branches off to the’Angels Rest’, the remains of an old hunter’s shelter. Just over 13km from the rest area, youwill reach Piropiro Flats campsite. There are plans to build a cycle trail Lodge here. Alternatively, if you do not mind cycling another 6kms, you can stay at the highly rated Black Fern Lodge, it is sign posted from the Timber Trail. a few kilometres before Piropiro Flats, down Black Fern Road.

Stage 3: Piropiro Flats to Ongarue

47km, 3-5 hours, Grade 3-(intermediate)

From Piropiro Flats campsite, follow the markers along Piropiro Road for 2 km to a locked gate. Ride between the concrete bollards and into the native forest on a new section of purpose-built trail. About 3km from the locked gate, you will cross the huge Maramataha River on the longest and highest swing bridge in New Zealand. If you suffer from vertigo,do not look down! Ahead lies a 3-km climb, otherwise the trail is quite easy (grade 2).From the old tramway terminus, it is mostly downhill all the way to Ongarue. There are old huts, more swing bridges and the fascinating Ongarue spiral. From the spiral, an 8-km downhill trails takes you to Ongarue-Ngakonui Road where there is a car park. The last 2km to Ongarue village are along a sealed road.

Timber Trail Link to Taumarunui:

You may wish to ride from Ongarue to Taumarunui on the beautiful Ongarue Back Road, It’s 24km and mostly flat( see Tmber Trail Link)

Fact File:

Overview: A fantastic, but very remote ride for lovers of the great outdoors:4-9kms from Pureora Info centre is idel for families and day trippers:

How to get there: Pureroa is in the middle of nowhere: From Te Kuiti head southeast on highway 30 for 55 kms. Just past the Pa Harakeke Centre, on Maraeroa Road, turn left onto Barryville Road and travel 2.5km to the Pureora Information Centre.

Riding surface: 40% old bush tramline, 35% new single track, 25%  new and old logging roads.

History The Ongarue mill processed trees from Pureora Forest from 1910 to the 1960s protests in the 1970s stopped the milling , rmaining native forest were saved, and the Pukeora Forest is once gain home to a variety of endangered birds , such as the Kokako and Kiwi

Trail websites and

Support Services:

Trail Transport, Contact the Timber Trail Shuttle  027 496 1764  or from Taupo Tread Routes 027 446 2408 or

Nearest towns to Pureora trailhead  are Bennydale and Mangakino

Pureora DOC cabins and campsites; 07-878 1080,  Pa Haraheke Chalets and Cafe 07-929 8718 / 027 207 1500

Black Fern Lodge  07-894 7677

Benneydale Cafe, general store , Bennydale Cafe and Lodge 07-878 4708 www.bennydale,co,nz  Art Doc Gallery 07 878 4780

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