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The Timber Trail

A former sawmilling stronghold with a rich historic, cultural and natural heritage, the Pureora Forest Park is intersected by the famous Timber Trail cycleway.

One of two New Zealand Great Rides in Ruapehu, the Timber Trail is a two-day ride from Pureora in the North to Ongarue in the South. The Timber Trail follows the original Ongarue logging tramway, constructed and operated by sawmilling firm Ellis and Burnand until it ceased usage in 1958. Rich with historical attractions, and spectacular swing bridges - visitors to the Pureora Forest also have the opportunity to experience magnificent native landscapes and birdlife.

The 44km Timber Trail between Piropiro Flats and Ongarue is largely centred around Pureora Forest. A family-friendly cycling adventure on easy gradients and surfaces, following historic bush tramways, old bulldozer roads and newly constructed track. The trail features large suspension bridges (the longest being 141 metres, 55 metres high), and the recently restored, historic Ongarue Spiral.

The full 85km ride from Pureora to Ongarue is best done over two days with Piropiro being an ideal halfway stopover. The final 45km from Piropiro to Ongarue is the most popular section of the trail and is suitable for anybody with a reasonable level of fitness.

Following the remnants of the Ellis & Burnand Tramway, you will be amazed by the suspension bridges and the world-famous Ongarue Spiral. One of a kind views through native bush, coupled with an abundance of birdlife and the occasional deer and wild pig make the Timber Trail a uniquely memorable New Zealand ride.

There are various accommodation options along the way such as Timber Trail Lodge, Camp Epic and Blackfern Lodge. Accommodation is also available in surrounding areas such as Taumarunui, National Park Village, Whakapapa Village are all ideal bases from which to do the Timber Trail.

The best way of tackling the trail is to leave your car in Ongarue (the end of the trail) then catch a shuttle to the start in Pureora or Piropiro. If you leave your car at the bottom of the trail you can ride at your own pace and you don’t need to worry about the set times shuttles run on.

The Timber Trail is also a part of the Te Araroa trail, a continuous 3,000km walking track from Cape Reinga to Bluff, so keep an eye out for those who are walking.

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