Map showing Ongarue Tramway and Spiral

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The Ellis & Burnand operation at Ongarue was a major Central North Island timber industry operation in both scale and longevity. They were one of the largest native timber companies in the country, and almost certainly the leading producer of rimu timber.

The old tram route with its numerous cuttings, embankments and stream crossings, winds through picturesque natural bush. The spiral is one of the most spectacular sections. An impressive sight, it comprised a lower-level bridge, a very deep cutting, a curved tunnel, a complete circle of track and an over-bridge.

DOC is working to develop the full length of the tramway into a Central North Island Rail Trail which visitors can walk or bike. Eventually this will be over 65km long.

At present only one section, the Waione Tram Mountain Bike Track, is open. Access to this route is from Piropiro Flats which can be accessed from either State Highway 30 (Te Kuiti-Whakamaru), or State Highway 4 between Te Kuiti and Taumarunui.

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