Timber Trail, Waikato and Great Lake Cycle

    enquire now 5 Days From NZD $2,395 pp twinshare
    Small group
    Terms & Conditions apply

    Explore NZ’s longest river, largest lake and lush native forest by bike in the Central North Island.

    Experience the best riding the Central North Island has to offer on this 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, with the 87km Timber Trail ride. Discover mighty swing bridges, timber milling sites, the Ongarue Spiral bush tramway & experience a night in the purpose-built lodge in the middle of the forest.  Next, head to the shores of Lake Taupo, taking in the volcanic landscapes and ride the Western Trail before taking a water taxi to explore the picturesque Northern Trails before returning to Auckland.  The support vehicle gives the ability to visit the best trailside highlights, including a visit to Huka Falls, Spa Thermal Park and the Wairakei Thermal Pools.


    • Follow the trails along the mighty Waikato River
    • Cycle the iconic Timber Trail through majestic native forest
    • Stay in the comfort of the Timber Trail lodge in the heart of the Pureora Forest
    • Travel by water taxi on Lake Taupo between the Western and Northern Trails
    • Visit the magnificent Huka Falls
    • Take a relaxing soak in the Wairakei Terraces and thermal pools


    Day 1 Auckland to Benneydale – 44km Cycle
    Today we begin our adventure with a short tour briefing in Auckland before driving to the start of the Waikato River Trail near Lake Karapiro. We stop for stop for refreshments along the way, before setting off on our bikes to Arapuni for lunch. The next section of trail takes us 15km to Jim Barnett’s Reserve, mostly on paved road. An hour’s van transfer then takes us to Atiamuri village for the day’s final ride, the 23.5km southernmost section of the trail which is almost always in sight of the scenic and expansive Lake Whakamaru and finishes at Whakamaru Dam. 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 over the millennia. After our ride, we head to Benneydale in the heart of the King Country & the gateway to the Timber Trail. We check into our accommodation and unwind in anticipation for the next day’s adventure. (D)

    Day 2 Benneydale to Piropiro Flats (Timber Trail) – 40km Cycle
    After breakfast this morning it’s a short 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. We get the hard work out of the way this morning, climbing for 14km through virgin, regenerated and ethereal cloud forest, with stunning views at spots along the way, until we reach 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. We finish the day at Piropiro Flats and our outstanding accommodation and hospitality at the Timber Trail Lodge. (B, L, D)

    Day 3 Piropiro to Pukawa Bay (Timber Trail) – 47km Cycle
    This morning we 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. We 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, excepting for a couple of short pinches, through felled forestry blocks and farmland. An hour’s drive to end the day takes us across to Pukawa Bay, a small township on the southern shores of Lake Taupo. We’ll stay overnight in an Oreti Resort with breath-taking lake and mountain views. (B, L)

    Day 4 Pukawa to Taupo – 43km Cycle
    Today we head to the Great Lake Trail, following flowing rivers, and the edges of the glistening Lake Taupo. A 40 minute drive takes us to the start of the 30km remote, westernmost trail at Waihaha. We 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. Our 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 our accommodation in Taupo, where you’ll have time to explore the township before our final team dinner. (B, L, D)

    Day 5 Taupo to Auckland – 20km Cycle
    A short transfer back over to the Great Lake Northern Trails for the start of our 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 and the perfect photo spot on top of Codger’s Rock. From there it’s downhill again with a long, flowing descent towards Kinloch with plenty more eye-popping views across the lake to the western bays. Time for a coffee and snack in Kinloch before we 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. At the turn of the last century, travellers world-wide came to ‘take the waters’, testifying to its ‘remarkable curative properties’ so perfect to sooth the legs! Our 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 our 4 hour drive back to Auckland. (B)


    • 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 evening meals
    • 3 nights motel accommodation with ensuite facilities on a twin share basis
    • 1 night at the Timber Trail Lodge
    • Professional qualified guide/driver
    • Private vehicle transport
    • Water Taxi on Lake Taupo
    • Entry to Wairakei Terraces and Thermal Hot Pools
    • Water and snacks while cycling
    • Access and concession fees paid to the Department of Conservation

    Images courtesy of WorldExpeditions