After checking in you will be shuttled out to your waiting rail cart at Okahukura. You'll set off down the line along a 16km of Forgotten World Railway. You will travel through five tunnels, including the longest tunnel whilst also marvelling through beautiful hand-built brick tunnels.
Enjoy a drink and some lovely home baking which will be waiting your arrival at Matiere, the turnaround point. On your return journey, you'll get to experience the ride from a whole new perspective. Switch drivers, take photos and enjoy the stunning scenery on your return journey to Okahukura. Board the shuttle to return to the Forgotten World Motel.
Depart in your own vehicle to Bennett's Car Park in Ongarue and board your shuttle to the start point of the Southern Half of the Timber Trail in Piropiro (45km).
Highlights on this stretch include curious logging relics, spectacular suspension bridges, wildlife viewing, weird and wonderful rock formations, hidden swimming spots and the only rideable spiral in the world!
The trail follows a logging road for a couple of kilometres before reentering the forest on single-track, which twists its way mostly uphill. Parts of the trail are on packed shingle and the rest is packed dirt and rocks, but all is a grade level 2 good riding surface. Depending on the rain level, there will be a few puddles along the way!
After about 5km of riding, you'll enjoy a thrilling descent! At the bottom, you’ll encounter the amazing Maramataha Suspension Bridge, the country’s highest and longest rideable suspension bridge. You might want to avoid looking down. Or maybe you should…
With the bridge behind you, it’s a steady and challenging climb to Ongarue Tramway terminus. The good news is that you’ve now conquered all the major climbs of the Timber Trail and the trail undulates in a generally downhill direction from this point on, with just a few little climbs to contend with.
Along the old tramway you’ll see remnants of logging history scattered about, including various huts, and you will cross more bridges. Parts of the trail cut through sheer rock faces shrouded in thick native bush where the sun’s rays seldom penetrate. That means mud, so be prepared for the odd splatter on this part of the trail.
Around the 75km mark is the nationally significant Ongarue Spiral, an engineering marvel explained in an interpretation panel. It is also the only rideable spiral in the world. From there, the trail continues to Ongarue, mostly downhill except for a couple of short pinches along the riverside as you burst into rugged farmland dotted with sheep and deer. The official end of the trail is located in the middle of Ongarue township, but some pre-arranged shuttles will collect you at the Bennetts Road car park where Epic Cycle Adventures has a new service centre, where you can enjoy a coffee.
About Forgotten World Adventures:
Ian, farmer, former Waikato Regional Councillor, keen outdoorsman and dedicated entrepreneur, recognised the gem that the rail line was. Following a comprehensive process of investigation, innovation and design and help from expert engineers the Forgotten World rail carts were created.
With a plan in place, including cutting-edge safety systems, the lease was secured from Kiwi Rail. Forgotten World Adventure was real, giving visitors the exciting opportunity to self-drive along the 142km of heritage rail tracks during the summer season of October through to May (with some shorter winter tours available by arrangement), immersed in the remote and stunning New Zealand landscape.