The Timberlands trail, Pureora Forest
Anne Opie and I recently cycled this track, and as I came back on a positive high about the experience, I thought it was worthwhile putting down a few details and a few of the logistics. You may well be inspired to do it yourself!
It is a long way from Wellington – and we did tag on an extra day and rode, riding the Marton Sash and Door trail, across the railway from the National Park café. It was a good ride and with fascinating historical material.
Briefly, the logistics of the Timberlands Trail: We drove to Taumaranui and stayed the night in the motor camp. A pleasant camp, about 5 km out of town, quiet, with huge trees, and by the Whanganui River. There was a spacious and well equipped kitchen. Next morning we packed up the bikes on Paul Goulding’s trailer and set off, leaving our car at Ongarue, then being driven to the DOC Pureora Field Base – a good camping spot, if needed. We left there at about 10.30 am and began the ride. We lunched more or less at the high point of the track below Mt Pureora and got to the Piropiro Campsite and our luggage, carefully stacked away in the undergrowth, at about 3.30 (45 km). We left there the next morning at about 9.30, having rehidden the luggage, and got to the road end about 2 pm. Paul was there waiting to save us the final two or so km of tedious hot road bike to our car at Ongarue (40 km).
So what were the highlights? The track is excellent (though, given the rain, on the first day it was a bit sandy in some places, making the going harder than it otherwise might have been. The first day was cold. There was also a lot of mud as we got to towards the high point of the track, presumably temporary). The downhill riding is fun, fast, and on the second day, as you ride through milled-over country along old milling and railway tracks, the going is almost all downhill. There is also a small spiral and a tunnel.
The bush on the first day is extraordinary – huge trunks of miro, matai, kahikatea, totara soar into the sky. Below them, and as you climb further, there are great banks of the Prince of Wales fern, a truly spectacular plant with its dark lime-green fleur-de-lys-like foliage. Equally spectacular swing bridges, 100m or so high, span great valleys. But you are going through old logging country. On the second day in particular, excellent notices give the history of the logging, the techniques used and a sense of how the men and their families lived there. The ride took rather longer than expected, because we stopped so often to read.
Paul Goulding and his wife firstname.lastname@example.org or epiccycleadventures.com were obliging and pleasant and provided fascinating commentary on the area. I would highly recommend them. And I was glad they, not I, took the luggage.
- Party members
- Helen Beaglehole(scribe), Anne Opie