Users of the Rimutaka Cycle Trail will enjoy a much smoother ride through the Siberia gorge now improvements have brought this up to the standard of the rest of the Rail Trail section.
A chunky, hard-fill surface with many ruts and ridges has been smoothed over to create a much safer and more enjoyable riding surface. The walking track was severely eroded, and that’s been fixed by realigning the Cross Creek stream and filling in the eroded sections.
Several players were involved in making the improvements: funding was shared by GWRC and by MBIE, with GWRC managing the overall project and undertaking the works with the Department of Conservation.
From time to time logging operations require visitors to take extra care when walking or riding in this area. Each week a Weekly Event Calendars is produced which notes these operations and any hazards that may be encountered.
A Key Native Ecosystem plan sets out the management activities that will be carried out to address threats to biodiversity at sites managed by GWRC as part of the Key Native Ecosystem (KNE) Programme. The KNE Programme includes sites that represent a full range of native ecosystem types with significant biodiversity values across the region. Management activities at these sites aim to protect and restore these important remnants of our natural heritage.
Pakuratahi Forest includes some large areas of high biodiversity value and these areas comprise one of GWRC’s Key Native Ecosystem sites. The Key Native Ecosystem Plan for Pakuratahi Forest describes the values and threats for this site, as well as the management activities GWRC is planning to carry out.
The KNE site at Pakuratahi Forest includes all of the native forested areas within the Park, which is located on the western side of the Rimutaka Range east of Upper Hutt. There are many features of the site that make it special. These features include its large size, the mostly intact nature of the forest, the areas of sub-alpine tussockland and the special vegetation types it contains, such as swamp maire forest and areas of numerous orchid species. The KNE site also supports a range of threatened animal species, most notably New Zealand falcon, rifleman, barking gecko, and four species of native freshwater fish.
With weeds, pest animals and the adverse effects of human activities posing ongoing threats to the area, GWRC is undertaking a long-term commitment to ensure that this Key Native Ecosystem site’s values are protected and restored.
You can download the Key Native Ecosystem Plan for Pakuratahi Forest and find further information about the KNE programme on our website.
Around 150 people marched across the Rimutaka summit in late September in a recreation of a rite of passage for soldiers heading to the WW1 battlefields of France and Belgium.
Resounding to the stamp of hobnail boots, the march commemorated the centenary of the journeys of the 60,000 soldiers who on completing their training in Featherston Military Training Camp crossed the summit en route for Trentham Army Camp and the Great War between 1915 and 1918.
A highlight of the 21 km march over the 555 metre Rimutaka Summit was a ceremony at the evocative 1915-1918 Rimutaka Crossing commemorative monument, which was unveiled and blessed on the occasion.
Supported by the South Wairarapa District Council the event was a great success, enabling those who took part to recount stories from their forbears. The stone and iron monument can be found just above the summit car park near on GWRC land near the new summit tracks. It’s definitely worth stopping to view it next time you’re in the area and an opportunity to stretch you r legs on the tracks while you’re at it.
Rimutaka Summit revamp stimulates visitors
Rimutaka Summit now offers visitors a double whammy as people are also beginning to discover the under-rated but spectacular Ara Tirohanga (formerly Rimutaka Trig Track) just down the road.
The summit has been a traditional stop for drivers crossing the range, and more so now following its recent upgrade. Visitors can now enjoy the short loop track and lookout and, over time watch the newly planted bush grow into a lovely area befitting a major watershed.
“But we’re also seeing a lot more activity further down the road on Te Ara Tirohanga, with cars beginning to pile into the new car park since we put up signage. And no wonder, the track, which is in the Pakuratahi Forest, offers spectacular views out over Lake Wairarapa, Mt Climie, and across to the Tararuas and the kids can do no bother,” says GWRC Principal Ranger (Eastern) Jimmy Young.
It takes about half an hour to walk the zigzags to the trig and same back but the reward is worth it. A word of caution: beware of rugged Wellington weather and expect strong winds as there is no shelter at the summit. Check it out, it’s an undiscovered gem and a great diversion if you’re going over the hill.