The Timber Trail follows historic tramways through the ancient native forest of the Pureora Forest Park. It stretches for 85km between Pureora village and the old logging town of Ongarue, offering riders a backcountry adventure through an area abundant in birdlife. The Timber Trail offers riders a backcountry adventure through an area abundant in birdlife.
Trails and Rails
Waitomo & Taumarunui
Stay and Play
If you need to get off the rat race and on the rails and trails – a week away in Ruapehu and Waitomo will get you back on the right track. Filled with all the ingredients for a great break away – fun, fresh air, exercise and communing with the great outdoors! Oh, and don’t forget to bring a friend or two!
An hour south of Hamilton City the mystical world of Waitomo awaits. Boasting a land of contrasts, much of the area’s natural wonders can be found below the earth’s surface as rolling hills and unspoilt native bush gives way to spectacular subterranean limestone caverns.
Millions of years in the making, Waitomo’s (wai meaning water and tomo meaning hole into the ground in Maori) visually awe-inspiring cave network draws people from all ages and stages looking for adventure and those looking for a sense of wonder.
Above ground there are good cafes, agricultural shows and top walks including the beautiful Marokopa Falls and many more. You will want to stay a day or two to explore the area.
Journey into one of the 300 known caves in the Waitomo area. Head down through the spectacular spiral entrance, and marvel at the softly folding shawl-like limestone formations and crystal tapestries in Ruakuri Cave.
Raft gently beneath a beautiful glowworm display with Spellbound. Take the time to appreciate the surroundings and a visit to the Cave of the Spirit is a wonderful way to picture Waitomo’s treasure trove of ancient mysteries and stories.
The Waikato region is home to plenty of family-friendly walks, the Mangapohue Natural Bridge is an easy walk and showcases a fascinating natural limestone bridge. This is perfect for a weekend outing and offers a glimpse into the areas past with 25 million year old fossilised oysters that are exposed in the limestone outcrops.
While in Waitomo, be sure to make the time to see the Marokopa Falls . At 35 meters high, they are said to be one of the most beautiful in the country and are well worth the visit. The easy 20 minute return walk passes through native tawa and nikau forest to reach the viewing platform for the falls.
The trail takes in a massive 42 bridges, including eight suspension bridges, as it winds its way through giant rimu, totara and kahikatea trees. The longest suspension bridge on the trail is the 141-metre-long Maramataha Bridge, which crosses the Maramataha River near the site of a historic viaduct.
Steeped in history, the area was once home to a booming logging industry and much of the trail follows the Ellis & Burnand Ongarue Tramway, which operated between 1922 and 1958. The tramway is the longest bush tramway in New Zealand and a highlight of the journey is the Ongarue Spiral.
Allow a couple of days to do the full trail – accommodation and meals at the mid point and transfers can be arranged with the Timber Trail Lodge.
Experience the sights of the area on a fully guided tour with Forgotten World Adventures, either by Rail Cart down the Forgotten World railway or by Jet Boat on the Whanganui River. Hear the heritage stories of hardy pioneers and off the beaten path communities in one of New Zealand’s most stunning North Island destinations. Explore the epic landscapes and changing scenery of New Zealand’s Forgotten World.
Forgotten World Adventures Rail and River is a fantastic day out and you get to do both the rail and jet experience! You can explore breathtaking scenery by Rail Cart, then travel the majestic Whanganui River by Jetboat. All with snacks, lunch and nostalgia included!
On your way out of Taumarunui be sure to stop in at Lauren’s Lavender Farm or Nevalea Alpacas for coffee with your choice of flowers or cuddly mates. Perhaps dust off the clubs and have a round at Tarrangower Golf Course , or go fly fishing on the internationally renowned rivers right here on your doorstep.