After leaving the Mangakino Lakefront reserve, keep following the river trails for 6.3kms (you will cross the Mangakino Stream via a large swingbridge ) on the way. Turn right onto a gravel road that leads to State Highway 30, only 500 metres away.
Turn left down the highway for 300 metres, and then carefully cross the highway to McDonald Road.
Follow McDonald Road for nearly 7km before turning left at Sandel Road; then after 700 metres, turn right at Henderson Road.
Continue along for 5.8kms before turning right onto Arataki Rd. Travel along this road for 4.2kms during which the road surfaces changes from seal to gravel. At this point follow the track down (it’s an offroad trail from here) until you reach the “famous” Arataki Swing Bridge.
The current Arataki swing bridge is akin to an old tramping track suspension bridge. Starting Monday 20th November 23, it takes some skill to cross. We recommend popping your bike up on its back wheel and crossing without the weight of any bikepacking kit. The new bridge will be a 650mm wide suspension bridge similar to some of the smaller bridges on the Timber Trail.
Once across you will be following an old forestry road for around 3kms before popping up onto a gravel road near the YMCA Camp Park Lee. Turn left here onto Titiraupenga Rd (maintained gravel road). At the next major fork turn right before turning left at the next DOC signpost.
The Centre of the North Island Sign is 35.2kms from your days start. Ride along the marked single track a few hundred meters to wonder and take photos at this special place. Come back out to the same point.
Continue following the gravel road before turning right onto Link Road. From here it is 9.4kms to the “Historic Tractor” sign and a direct link onto the Timber Trail. Alternatively carry on another 2.6kms to Pureora and the official start of the Timber Trail.
There is cell coverage, water, camping and Pureora cabins.