Day 315 on the Road
Cycling the NZ Timber Trail!
Today we are tackling 45km of the Timber Trail in the Pureora Forest Park! If you like this video and want to more 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand then jump on over to our epic YouTube Channel!
Today we are having out most challenging day to date. We’re doing an epic mountain biking mission on the Timber Trail.
This morning we are waking up and the beautiful Timber Trail Lodge, it’s a sunny day today amazing it has been raining for the last couple of day and we were pretty worried because today we are tackling one of the hardest mountain biking trips we’re gonna be doing this entire year. It’s the Timber Trail.
The guys from Epic Cycle Adventures dropped off a couple of really awesome mountain bikes at the Timber Trail Lodge last night so that we can jump straight onto our mountain bikes this morning and hit the Tiber Trail. Our mission today is to do a 45km journey towards Ongarue.
The trail starts on an old logging route and this is why you can see this very wide trail right now but it quickly becomes really narrow and it becomes a single biking trail.
And in no time at all we delve into the lush New Zealand native bush. It’s absolutely amazing how the landscape changes that quickly but it looks absolutely brilliant because of the early morning light from the sun, everything looks golden and the forest looks absolutely beautiful.
On top of that, because there is literally just us on the track, we can hear a million type of bird calls. it’s crazy the amount of birds there is surrounding us and only takes a couple of minutes for Laura to jump off her bike and start filming them.
The first pair of birds that we find is a pair of white head we see a male and female bickering their way through the trees and it’s quite crazy the amount of time we get to watch them and also how close we get to them. But we have a lot biking to do today so we jump back on our bikes and are on our way. We are getting all our gears from Epic Cycle Adventures and they actually provided us with heaps of awesome equipment. the thing that I like the most out of everything that they gave us in the GPS tracker. This allows them to track us alongside the Timber Trail about every 15 minutes they get a notification on where we are and what is out speed this allows them to estimate at what time they’re gonna need to come pick us up at the end of the trail and relieve us from the stress from not making our deadline.
Once we’re gonna be meeting them back up, they’re gonna drive us back to our car and we’ll be on our way. But let’s get back to the track, right now we’re meeting up with our first huge swing bridge.
We are just past the 47 so we’ve got 35km to go.
After cycling 5km we finally come to our first epic bridge of the day which is the Maramataha Bridge, it goes over 141m over this huge gorge rising 54m from the ground it’s actually the highest and longest rideable suspension bridge in the whole of New Zealand.
Riding super high about this steep river gorge is absolutely amazing and a major highlight of the Timber Trail to be honest we cross that bridge several times before making our way to the next section of the Timber Trail which is probably the hardest section for us of the day and it’s a 3km steady uphill. As we mentioned before we are only doing the second day of the Timber Trail. The Timber Trail is 85km long and usually takes 2 days to complete. Although some people have been known to do it in just one day.
The first day of the Timber trail goes from Pureora to Piropiro which is where the Timber Trail Lodge is based where we were staying last night and that first section is about 40km mostly on a grade 2 gradient which is usually and easier and less technical gradient to tackle on the mountain biking trails in New Zealand. The highlights of that part of the trail include the Lord of the Rings scenery around because actually part of that was filmed in the Lord of the Rings, and also there’s side track up to the summit of Mt Pureora which is said to have some amazing views even looking across Lake Taupo.
The second official day of the Timber Trail is the section that we are doing at the moment and that goes from Piropiro to Onagrue which I just can’t pronounce, I’m sorry guys.
We’re at the toilet.
Our next pitstop as at the Ongarue Terminus because yes, the Timber Trail is full of history it was actually a place where a lot of logging was happening as the name can tell, Timber Trail. It’s a really nice touch that all along the Timber Trail there is heaps of interpretation panels which tell us, well, heaps of history of the Timber Trail as well as it’s construction process. For instance we learn a lot about the milling operation of the area which was between 1946 and 1978. We see a lot of little relics like crawlers tractors as well as milling building but they stopped milling and reconverted the land into conservation land and it’s now steeped in conservation operations and well awesome biking tourists like us.
Now let’s talk about the track itself, it’s kind of easy or at least I find it rather easy, on the second day trail which is the one we’re doing today there is about a 3km of about steep uphill and that to be fair took our breath away literally, but after a good night of sleep at the timber trail lodge and a really heavy breakfast I think it’s a easy one to do. After that, it’s mostly downhill and mostly flat aside from another section which is about 6-7km which is quite steady uphill but again nothing too hard. I personally found this trail really doable with a bit of a challenge but that what makes it all the more rewarding when you get to the end.
There is so much to see on the Timber Trail along the way From deep dense forest inside the Pureora Forest Park. Some of the forest here is actually over a 1000 years old and it really feels like you’re in the ancient wilderness I absolutely love it.
The highest up we get the more vegetation starts to thin out and we can start to see some views. However we’re getting pretty exhausted after all the uphill climbing so it’s a good to grab some lunch by the 65km mark and then start the awesome downhill section.
Once again we’re delving into the deep dark forest with really huge gorge walls on the side where I guess they put the railway right through her middle when they first constructed a railway in this area. There’s more bridges to cross actually there is about 18 bridges just on this section of the Timber Trail alone.
Toward the end of the Timber Trail we have 10km of downhill to tackle when I say tackle, it’s more like letting gravity do its thing and we just enjoy the amazing ride down. It’s so much fun.
Another really awesome feature of the Timber Trail is the Ongarue Spiral which is a feet in railway engineering. And this was a way for trains to get up a steep mountain without actually having to get up a steep gradient itself. The spiral goes up around the mountain like a spiral going through a tunnel and then across a bridge. And it’s the only railway spiral that you can actually ride a bike in the world.
It’s super awesome to be riding right through a deep dark tunnel and once we emerge we are surrounded by amazing waterfalls and then bike into this awesome valley where the views just open up and we can just see forest and valley for miles and miles.
The very last stretch of the Timber Trail takes us through lush farmland with lots of green fields as far as the eye can see and we’re meeting up with the guys from Epic Cycle Adventures who have got the shuttle ready to take us back to the Timber Trail Lodge. And they show us that they tracked us all the way.
So I knew where you were each time. You zoom in here, you can see the bridge. It’s one of the bridges.
So how are you feeling? Woo! How do you feel?
My back hurts so much.
Our day is not finished just yet we are now driving toward Tauranga which is a cool coastal city on the Bay of Plenty.
So we’re gathered here together to remember Robin, the the mountain biker.
I shouldn’t be doing mountain biking.