About us

The perfect place to rest after your adventures on the Timber Trail.

Welcome to the Timber Trail Centre, a beautiful and peaceful place to relax and learn, near one of New Zealand’s greatest adventure playgrounds and many tourist attractions. The Timber Trail Centre is set amongst 3 hectares of organic fruit trees and pastureland on the edge of a stream and the trout-filled Ongarue River.

We cater to all types of diets and food preferences with simple, healthy organic food.

Taumarunui Township is 15 minutes drive away and has a first class golf course, public swimming pool, many shops, a supermarket, garages, bike repair shops, exercise gym and most of the things you might need on your journey.

The Centre has three buildings at this stage:

The Timber Miller’s Cottage

The cottage is 110 years old and is available for accommodation with:

  • five bedrooms (four will have en suite bathrooms from early 2016)
  • a communal kitchen with fridge, oven, micro-wave and electric grill
  • free WIFI laundry facilities
  • a lounge to socialise, play the guitar, watch a movie or read a book (there is no TV at the Centre)
  • an outside hot tub for 10 people

The whole Cottage can be rented for $500 per night or individual rooms for between $85 and $120, depending on numbers and time of year.

The Old Church

At 135 years old, this is the oldest building in the Central North Island region and is used for training and food production when there are large groups of students.

The Schoolhouse

This 110 year old character building is used for training and study (1,000 book library) and for recreation (pool table).

The Centre is run on a non-profit basis and has been established to provide training in two main areas:
(a) business skills for those managing businesses or who aspire to do so, (b) life-skills for low-income people, who would otherwise not be able to afford such courses. 

A wide range of both low key and more adventurous activities are available through the Centre from fishing, cycling, kayaking and skiing to painting and pottery – or just feeding the farm animals that live with us. 

The Centre is one of only two providers of accommodation and food at the end of the Timber Trail Cycle Way. The 5 bedroom Timber Miller's Cottage can be rented for $500 per night or individual rooms for between $85 and $130, depending on room, number of occupants and time of year. We provide a simple old-world environment and try to keep our charges low. For booking enquiries, please click here.

The Centre is within easy reach of most parts of the North Island (and via plane, bus or train from elsewhere) and in one of the Southern Hemisphere’s great adventure and relaxation playgrounds.

Your hosts

The Timber Trail Centre is run by Marty and Sylvie and is open from December to May each year. For the other half of the year these two global nomads work in film and photography (mindfulworldproductions.com & sacrednature.photo) from their 250 year-old stone house in southern France.

Between them, Sylvie and Marty have travelled to over 80 countries and are fluent in English, French, Hindi, Urdu and a smattering of other languages.


Marty is a fifth generation kiwi, born in India and went to school in the Himalayan mountains. His training is in finance and economics, winemaking and psychology and he’s worked in 40 countries around the world, with governments, development banks, private enterprise and with Mother Teresa’s organisation in various slums.


Sylvie was born and raised in Normandy, France, but has spent much of her life elsewhere on the planet, pursuing her love of photography in over two dozen countries around the world, and exhibiting her work in New York, Paris, Milan and elsewhere. Apart from photography, Sylvie has worked in the natural health and spa industries, run her own organics retail business on the French Riviera, been a chef for the Royal Family of Monaco, and sold organic products across much of France