The beautifully graded single track flows through a sliver of podocarp forest full of bird life.
This cycle trail starts from DOC’s Nga Haerenga campsite, which can be accessed from SH30 (Scotts Road).
The trail eventually pops out of the bush and resumes climbing through a logged area with pockets of regenerating forest, heading towards the highest point of the track at 980m.
There is a shelter here and a little further on, a walking track veers east to the summit of Mt Pureora (1390m).
On a clear day, it’s a worthwhile side-trip offering expansive views.
It’s hard to put a foot wrong on the downhill to Piropiro Flats, with its recent track upgrades and the profusionof suspension bridges.
There’s a good spot to snack at Harrisons Creek after crossing two of these 100m-plus bridges. Piropiro Flats has become the halfway point on the trail, offering accommodation, food and a cold beer at either the recently built Timber Trail Lodge or 7km off-trail and along Kokomiko Road at the Black Fern Lodge. There’s also a DOC campsite here and shuttle access.
From Piropiro Flats, there’s a mix of climbing and descending on old logging tracks and new single-trail before crossing the massive Maramataha Bridge, the country’s highest and longest suspension bridge. The track soon reaches the historic 1952 Tramway Terminus, the most northerly end of the old logging tramline.
From there it’s all gradually downhill following the rail bench for the most part as it winds along to Mystery Creek Triangle, through No.11 Camp which has a shelter and toilets and then onto No.10 Camp. The Mangatukutuku Bridge is the last of the eight suspension bridges on the trail and has several interpretive
panels with old photos and text.
The trail heads through a number of railway cuttings before descending the famous Ongarue Spiral, exiting 270-degrees later via a strategically-placed tunnel. The last section of downhill is a real blast, then the trail crosses a logging road and follows Mangakahu Stream, on its true right bank, through farming country to the trail’s end at Ongarue.