Timber Trail in Pureora Forest © Jeremy Bright

Timber Trail: cycle in the footsteps of early loggers

The first thing that’ll cross your mind as you criss-cross these phenomenal old trails is: they brought a tram through here?

It’s exciting enough on a bike! Where would you start? Well, at Pureroa, actually. There’s a mid-point at Piropiro which, if you’re pressed for time, you can start at as well. Two days, or one day, it’s the ride of a lifetime.

This weaving, winding and wonderful 85km ride follows what remains of an old tramway trail, once a common sight in the Kiwi bush, used by sawmillers up until 1958 to haul rimu logs by the thousand.

Yep, this was full-on timber country, and the Timber Trail reflects that, making the most of the tramway, old bulldozer roads and a few newly constructed sections of track as well. While it’s mostly pretty easy going, especially the family-friendly second stretch from Piropiro, you will wonder at the tenacity of the lumbering woodmen who drove logs through these amazing spaces.

For your pleasure they did a Pureroa version of 'straightening the curves and flattening the hills', as the old telly show used to go, only with these guys, bridges were the thing. The trail features a staggering (and slightly swaying) 35 bridges, eight of them significant suspension versions, the longest a stunning 141m in length and 55m high. If that doesn’t excite your Lycra, who knows what will?

Luckily they didn’t take all the trees. In fact, far from it. When you’re not crossing a bridge, you’re surrounded by ancient podocarp forest, with native rimu, totara, miro and more vying for your attention. The landscape between bridges and bush is equally stunning and includes the legendary Ongarue Spiral, which is made up of a lower-level bridge, a cutting, a tunnel and then a complete circle of track and overbridge. Makes you giddy just thinking about it. Don’t think about it though, ride it, folks.

Explore more...


Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

Things to do

Whanganui Journey: paddle your own canoe

The Whanganui Journey is less of a walk and more of a paddle. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Things to do

Rangitikei: a place to stretch the legs and enjoy life off the beaten track

Photographer, author and adventurer Nick Allen explores Rangitikei and the beauty hidden just beneath the surface and off the beaten track. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Things to do

Manawatu: off the main drag

Adventurer, photographer and author Nick Allen explores the Manawatu and finds that John Cleese was very, very wrong about the place.  Read the story . . . 

Where to stay in Ruapehu Region

4.7 /5
From $60
4.7 /5
Alpine Motel

Alpine Motel & Backpackers Lodge offers motel and backpacker accommodation in Ohakune's town centre. Accommodation consists of 10 units of various sizes including fully self . . . More . . . 

From $60

Book now

Book now

From $39
Ohakune TOP 10 Holiday Park

It's time to pause and play! Ohakune is a perfect base from which to discover the Central North Island, Mt Ruapehu, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro. . . . More . . . 

From $39
3.6 /5
Chateau Tongariro Hotel

Chateau Tongariro Hotel . . . More . . . 

Book now

Book now

4.6 /5
From $25
4.6 /5
Best Price Around
Hobbit Motorlodge

Charming alpine setting offering guests quiet comfortable accommodation. Centrally located in the beautiful alpine location of Ohakune village, the nearest town to Turoa ski field, . . . More . . . 

From $25

Book now

Book now