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The definitive where-to-ride guide for cycling in New Zealand

Timber Trail

New Zealand Cycle Trail

Lake Taupo, North Island

Planning on riding the Timber Trail? Check out Timber Trail Shuttles to get transferred from one end of the trail to the other. Or, Contact us for help in planning your itinerary and booking your trip. 

The 85-kilometer Pureora Timber Trail joins two old logging tramways in the Pureora Forest running from Puerora southwards toward Ongarue. This one-to-three day adventure stretches for 85 kms through four ecological areas showcasing remnants of the great forests that once dominated this remote area of New Zealand's North Island. It's a fantastic ride, undoubtedly one of the North Island's best. 

A highlight of this track is the huge variety of riding cyclists will get to experience - everything from newly built single track, to historic bush tramways to easy-riding 4x4 tracks make for an excellent day on the bike. Over the 85 kms riders will pass over 35 bridges including 8 inspiring suspension bridges - the longest measuring up at 141 metres. The Timber Trail lives up to its name taking cyclists past forests of rimu, totara, miro, matai, kahikatea and exotic forestry. 

Pureora is a former saw milling stronghold with a rich historic and natural heritage. The Purora Timber Trail runs along the historic Ellis and Burn and Ongarue Tramway (1922 - 1958) for over half its length as well as old logging roads and new sections of track through Pureora Forest Park. The tramway, which is mostly on DOC land, is the longest bush tramway in New Zealand. The highlight is the Ongarue Spiral - a triumph in bush engineering .

Day One sees cyclists begin in Pureora Forest village and head south towards Mt Pureora through native bush. The highest point, the western flank of Mount Pureora, is reached after a well graded but challenging 14km climb. The grunt is worth it in the end, as after this climb cyclists descend down smooth, flowy single track to Angels Rest. Those keen on overnighting can camp the at Piropiro DOC Campsite or arrange transportation back to a nearby B&B or lodge accommodation. 

Day Two departs from Piropiro Flats towards one of the first of several swing bridges at Maramataha and continues to the old Waione cookhouse.  Riding for the second half of the trail is largely flat riding along old logging roads. A feature of the afternoon is the 90 meter suspension bridge over Mangatukutuku Stream and a reconstructed timber trestle bridge at Goat Creek. After passing the Ongarue Spiral - a huge highlight of the second day - get ready for 12 fantastic kms of downhill to the Ongarue end carpark. 

Whilst this trail can be ridden in either direction, riding from South to North makes it a significantly more challenging ride (as North to South is predominantly downhill). Keen cyclists can knock off the trail in a day, but those looking for a more leisurely trip should take two. This is a brilliant ride, one of the North Island's best. 


  • Timber trail
  • Pureora Timber Trail 1
  • Pureora Timber Trail 3
  • Pureora Timber Trail 4
  • Pureora Timber Trail 6
  • Pureora Timber Trail 8
  • Start of Timber Trail Pureora
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  • One of the great rides of NZ, absolutely worth it! Thoroughly enjoyed it.

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  • A ride on timber trail is not an easy thing, it needs so much experience and practice, or else it can't be done. I often go for ride when ever i find time from best writing services review, but never tried on timber trail. It's an adventurous trip to me. Any ways thanks for the share.

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  • Hi I am planning to have a look next week I have a german made trecking bike (which I used in Germany) 27 gears hydraulic brakes but quite heavy for bags tents etc, would this be suitable. Was looking at cycling in Camping one night then cycling out and back to tent stop the night then cycling back to car. Is that feasible

    Posted by Bob , 06/02/2014 4:04pm (1 year ago)

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