Photo copyright: Rimutaka Cycle Trail

Rimutaka Cycle Trail

RIDING THE TRAIL

Petone Foreshore to Maymorn

35 km, 3-5 hours, Grade 2 (Easy)

The first section of the trail runs mostly along the banks of the Hutt River, through parkland on the fairly easy-grade paths of the popular Hutt River Trail. Beginning at Petone Wharf, riders then head along the foreshore to the mouth of the Hutt River, historic site of the Hikoikoi pa, one of the largest Maori settlements in pre-European New Zealand.

The trail then follows the river northeast through the parklike public corridor on both sealed and gravelled pathways. Eventually leaving the riverbank at Te Marua, riders follow a short road section to the entrance to Tunnel Gully to begin the second part of the trail.

Maymorn to Cross Creek

25 km, 3-4 hours, Grade 2-3 (Easy to Intermediate)

Beginning with Tunnel Gully, riders travel through the historic Maymorn Tunnel and lush green bush to Kaitoke.

After a short public road, it’s back into the bush to follow the old railway route.

From Ladle Bend Bridge the trail travels through plantation forestry to Summit. From Summit the trail descends along the path of the historic Fell Locomotive Incline.

With three railway tunnels on the descent, including the 576m Summit Tunnel, some form of light is advisable.

Riders emerge from the ranges at Cross Creek, into the expanse of the Wairarapa.

Cross Creek to Ocean Beach

36 km, 2-3 hours, Grade 3 (Intermediate) on-road

Some riders may opt to turn northeast on Western Lake Rd to the town of Featherston (12km) to finish their day’s ride. The trail, however, turns southwest and runs alongside the shore of Lake Wairarapa .

This section is a gentle descent on a sealed public road, easily ridden, with some care required for occasional motor vehicles. Riders will travel through rich farmland, where sheep and cattle have grazed since Europeans first settled in the 19th century.

Towards the coast riders pass Lake Onoke, part of the Wairarapa Moana Wetlands Park, before reaching the big blue of Cook Strait at Ocean Beach.

Ocean Beach to Orongorongo

18 km, 3-5 hours, Grade 3 (Intermediate to Advanced)

The final section runs along the South Coast, with the Cook Strait on your left and hill country to your right. On a clear day, the snow-capped peaks of the South Island’s Kaikoura Ranges are visible across the water.

Much of the land is part of the Orongorongo Sheep Station. The landscape is one of stark and rugged beauty, but do keep an eye on the weather while planning and riding, as this section is exposed to strong winds.

After exploring Turakirae Head, the trail runs north to the mouth of the Orongorongo River where there is a road link back to the city of Wellington.

This section provides the most challenging trail conditions with rocky and sandy sections.

Getting There

Petone

At the northern end of Wellington Harbour, Petone is the official start point of the Rimutaka Cycle Trail. It can be reached by road or regular rail service from Wellington Railway Station.

Journey by rail from Wellington to Petone Station takes approximately 15 mins. Signs then direct riders to the trail start at Petone Wharf approximately 2km away.

On weekends and public holidays there is also a ferry crossing from Queen's Wharf on the Wellington Waterfront directly to Petone Wharf. Ferry travel time is around 1 hour, sailing via Seatoun, Somes Island and Days Bay. Please check eastbywest.co.nz for departure times.

Maymorn Station

The Wairarapa Line rail service from Wellington Station travels two to five times a day via Maymorn Station, and the top of the Hutt Valley. This is the beginning of the Rimutaka Rail Trail section through Tunnel Gully to Cross Creek.

This train journey takes approximately 40 minutes.

Featherston

The Wairarapa Line continues from Maymorn through the Rimutaka Tunnel to the township of Featherston. Travel time by rail from Wellington to Featherston is around 1 hour.

Located 12km north of the trail as it emerges from the Rimutaka Ranges into the Wairarapa Valley, Featherston is an ideal overnight stop for two-day trail riders. It also serves as a start point for riders planning a one-day part ride of the trail.

From Featherston riders can pick up the trail as it joins Western Lake Road and continue to the southern coast and around to Orongorongo.

Alternatively, riders can cross the Rimutaka Ranges in the more challenging westerly direction, and then follow the Hutt River downstream to Petone.

Orongorongo

The farthest point of the trail at Orongorongo is the most difficult to reach, however it is accessible by road via private shuttlebus providers.

Riders can then ride the trail in reverse, heading to Featherston for an overnight stopover, or to return to Wellington via train.

Visitor Information

Trail Partner

Inspiration, News and Updates

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It's official - Bike the Trail is geared up for 28 February 2016 starting at 10am! Enjoy an awesome day out cycling along one of the country’s best cycle trails, the Hutt River Trail, part of the Rimutaka Cycle Trail. There are two routes you can choose to ride, 25km from Harcourt Park in Upper Hutt or 12km from ...

 

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Jonathan Kennett, Cycling Author
The Rimutaka Trail is a fantastic way to explore the landscapes and history of Wellington region. The terrain is varied, without being too challenging, and takes you through bush, open countryside and rugged coastline. JONATHAN KENNETT – Cycling Author