Participate on this fantastic tour in incredible scenery
Enjoy a variety of landscapes on tour from gorges to rivers, lakes to forests
Cycle tour NZ's North Island
Cross the suspension bridges on tour
Enjoy a fully-supported cycle tour in NZ
Experience a wonderfully scenic and diverse rural ride
Discover the hidden gems of New Zealand by bike

Timber Trail, Waikato and Great Lake Cycle

Duration
5 days
Site savings
$18
From
$1,781 USD

Experience the best riding the Central North Island has to offer on a fully supported & guided trip on the Waikato River Trail, Timber Trail & Great Lake Trail. After a transfer from Auckland, the adventure begins on the mighty Waikato River Trail, passing through forest & farmland along NZ’s longest river. The adventure continues in the Pureora Forest where you'll ride the 87km Timber Trail. You’ll discover mighty swing bridges, timber milling sites, the Ongarue Spiral bush tramway & experience 2 nights in the purpose-built lodge in the middle of the forest.

  • Category
    Trail Riding
  • Type
    Fully Guided
  • Duration
    5 days
  • Culture Level
    Familiar
  • Skill Level
    2 - Novice
  • Activity Level
    2 - Moderate
  • Elevation
    3 - Intermediate
  • Terrain
    Forested
  • Distance
    115.6 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    23 miles
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Quick Stats

  • Duration
    5 days
  • Main Destination
    North Island
  • Distance
    115.6 miles
  • Avg. Daily Distance
    23 miles
  • Elevation
    3 - Intermediate
  • Terrain
    Forested

Route Map (click to view larger image)

Itinerary Details

  1. Day 1Auckland to Timber Trail Lodge

    Today you'll begin the adventure with a short tour briefing in Auckland before driving to the start of the Waikato River Trail near Atiamuri. You will stop for refreshments along the way, and picnic by the river before jumping on your bike to ride 2 sections of the trail. This southernmost section of the trail offers views of the expansive Lake Whakamaru. Almost directly across the lake at Atiamuri is the stunning Pohuturoa rock, a magnificent historically significant feature, lifted by volcanic forces and weathered by the elements.

    The next 12km section has great views along Lake Maraetai and includes the 70m-long Mangakino stream suspension bridge. This section is also where the Waikato River Trails Trust has recently planted several thousand native trees along the edge of the lake. After your ride, you will head to the Timber Trail Lodge in the heart of the Pureora Forest and your home for the next 2 nights. You will check into your accommodation and unwind in anticipation of the next day's adventure.

    • 22.4 miles
    • Timber Trail Lodge
    • Dinner
  2. Day 2Timber Trail : Pureora to Piropiro Flats

    After breakfast this morning it’s a 50 min drive to the start of the Timber Trail on the edge of the Pureora Forest. The trail follows old logging roads and tramlines linked with well-constructed unsealed tracks and a series of thrilling suspension bridges. You'll get the hard work out of the way this morning, climbing for 14km with stunning views until reaching the highest point of the ride. From here it’s mostly downhill for the rest of the day, winding down the side of Mt Pureora and across the flanks of the Hauhungaroa Ranges with a couple of amazing suspension bridges to cross along the way. You'll finish the day at Piropiro Flats right by your outstanding accommodation and hospitality at the Timber Trail Lodge. 

    • 24.9 miles
    • Timber Trail Lodge
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  3. Day 3Timber Trail: Piropiro to Ongarue; transfer to Pukawa Bay

    This morning you'll head back into the native forest and cross over a tumbling gorge on one of the highest and longest swing bridges in the country, keeping a lookout for New Zealand’s native pigeon, the beautiful Kereru. Today’s climbing consists of 2 much shorter uphills compared with yesterday’s ascent, with the 2nd one finishing at the Ongarue Tramway terminus. From there it’s mostly downhill all the way to the end following the old tramway. You'll pass remnants of the region’s logging history, more swing bridges and the fascinating Ongarue Spiral and its rather spooky, old tunnel. The trail continues downhill to Ongarue. 

    You will then load the bikes and head to Lake Taupo where you will be rewarded with breathtaking lake and mountain views from your comfortable accommodation.

    • 29.2 miles
    • Lake Taupo Accommodation
    • Breakfast and Lunch
  4. Day 4Pukawa to Taupo

    Today you will head to the Great Lake Trail, following flowing rivers, and the edges of the glistening Lake Taupo. A 40-minute drive takes you to the start of the 30km remote, westernmost trail at Waihaha. You will ride alongside the Waihaha River high above a pretty gorge cloaked in native bush. The trail has been purpose-built with flowing corners, fun downhills and some short switchback climbs up to spectacular views. Rocky outcrops command great views over the volcanic landscape, with the spectacular Tieke Falls a highlight.

    The final part of the ride drops you down past the sacred Kotukutuku Falls to the remote, tranquil Waihora Bay, a great spot for a refreshing dip before a water taxi takes you across the Lake to Kinloch on the most northerly bay of the Lake. Your 13km afternoon ride starts from Kinloch climbing steadily through native bush onto a headland before a fast, flowing descent to pretty Whakaipo Bay. A short van transfer from there to your accommodation in Taupo, where you’ll have time to explore the township before your final team dinner!

    • 26.7 miles
    • Lake Taupo Accommodation
    • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  5. Day 5Taupo to Auckland

    A short transfer back over to the Great Lake Northern Trails for the start of your final ride of the trip, a delightful 20km trail to Kinloch, via the beautiful Kawakawa Bay. From the car park, the trail winds virtually downhill for 9km all the way to the lake on fun, flowing, easy singletrack, passing through wetlands full of native birds and regenerating native bush and over boardwalk and ravines.

    From Kawakawa Bay it’s a 3km-climb via switchbacks to get out of the Bay but you’re rewarded at the top with magnificent sweeping views across Lake Taupo. From there it’s downhill again with a long, flowing descent towards Kinloch. Time for a coffee and snack in Kinloch before you head for a well-earned soak in the waters and clays of Wairakei Terraces, highly valued by Maori for their healing powers and therapeutic benefits.

    Your final excursion is a visit to nearby Huka Falls, the largest falls on the Waikato River and the most visited natural attraction in New Zealand! Time for a short walk to marvel at this 220,000-litres-per-second waterfall before a 4-hour drive back to Auckland.

    • 12.4 miles
    • Breakfast