Timber Trail – Timber Trail Lodge to Ongarue

An incredible 85km grade 2/3 bike trail through the native bush of Pureora Forest Park, the Timber Trail is one of the best multi-day rides in the country. It is filled with history, amazing scenery, and has the infrastructure to make the logistics of riding in one of the more remote parts of the country (about half way between Auckland and Wellington) straightforward.

My second and final day on the trail took me from the Timber Trail Lodge back to my car at Ongarue, via huge suspension bridges, historic bush tramways, and more beautiful bush. The day started well with these tree ferns.

This is one of 35 bridges built for the cycle trail, 8 of which are suspension bridges, three are 3 more than 100m long. This one wasn’t…

The bush here was regenerating after being felled and there was noticeably less birdsong than the first day on the trail.

I passed one Te Araroa walker, following the path that runs the length of New Zealand. Though I love walking, the nature of the trail (lots of forestry roads and old tramways) and the number of fast moving bikes, would put me off.

It didn’t take long to reach the vast Maramataha Bridge. At 141 metres long and 53 metres high it is the largest on the trail, and even larger than the epic viaducts on the Hump Ridge Track. These suspension bridges are remarkably stable and quite a feat of engineering.

The second day involves going up and down two decent hills through bush, but also open areas, often full of bramble. There are excellent facilities along the trail, including a number of toilets.

Much of the trail this day followed historic bush tramways cut in the first half of the 20th century. These were major pieces of engineering with numerous cut through the terrain to create a near flat path, and reminded me of similar tramways on the Hump Ridge Track.

There were a number of camps along the tramway, some of which are preserved.

As was this huge steam powered log hauler.

The tramway cuttings are pretty cool to cycle through.

Mangatukutuku Bridge was another epic on, with big views of the bush below.

More cutting followed, with a few fallen trees over them.

The Ongarue spiral was an ingenious way of dropping down in a short distance via bridges, a deep cutting, and a tunnel.

After a long descent with no stopping due to risk of rock fall the trail drops down to along by the Mangakhu Stream, and then around a number of fields before finishing at Ongarue.

Author: jontycrane

Leave a Reply