Rimutaka Rail Trail
Running from Kaitoke to Summit, the Rimutaka Rail Trail links with the DOC-managed Incline down to Cross Creek in the Wairarapa. A gently graded 18 km walk or mountain bike ride, the Trail features restored railway bridges and historic tunnels (take a torch). Enjoy swimming and fishing in the nearby Pakuratahi River and picnic or camp in the pleasant surrounds of Ladle Bend and Summit.
Toilets are located at the Kaitoke and Cross Creek entrances, at Summit and at the historic Cross Creek town site.
How to get there
Turn off SH2, 9km north of Upper Hutt. The carpark is 1km along a metal road. Or you can enter the Wairarapa end of the Rail Trail via Cross Creek Road (off Western Lake Road). Pedestrian and cycling access only beyond the carpark.
From the end of the Hutt River Trail at Te Marua you can continue on down the road past the Water Treatment plant and the Stuart MacCaskill Lakes to join onto a track that takes you to the start of the Rimutaka Rail Trail via an underpass under SH2. See the map to your right for more details.
From Maymorn Trailway Station you can follow the walking/cycling track that takes you through Tunnell Gully and you can join the Trail on Incline Road or further up the trail.
Getting back to your starting point
Valley Shuttles will transport groups of up to six people and their bikes from Kaitoke to Cross Creek or vice versa. Contact them via email or phone (04) 973-8150 or (027) 248 1745 for more information.
Bikes on Wairarapa trains
It is a 10km cycle from the Cross Creek carpark along flat roads to Featherston Station. Allow up to 45 minutes as there is often a headwind to overcome.
On weekdays the first three trains into Wellington and the last three out are the peak commuter services. Groups with bicycles should use the off-peak services if at all possible. Note that non-standard bikes such as tandems or bikes with trailers are more difficult to accommodate.
If you are travelling as a group, Tranz Metro can increase bicycle carrying capacity but you need to book in advance. Book with Tranz Metro by phoning 04 498 3103 and they will advise the fee (including any extra for bikes) dependant on the group size and needs and can advise the best times to travel. There is no additional fee for using the group booking service.
Safety on the trail
Walking and biking
Running 18km from Kaitoke to Cross Creek, the Rimutaka Rail Trail is a popular recreation route used by more than 30,000 walkers, runners and cyclists each year.
Greater Wellington manages the section from Kaitoke to Summit. Expect an easy gradient with a gravel surface.
For bike hire and accessories http://www.thebikehutt.co.nz/services
Walking times and distances:
Kaitoke gate - Summit 10km / 2.5 hours
Summit - Cross Creek 6km / 1.5 hours
Cross Creek - Carpark 2km / 30 mins
Kaitoke gate - Summit 1 hour
Summit - Cross Creek Less than 30 minutes (dismount and walk your bike through "Siberia" gully)
Cross Creek - carpark 15-30 minutes (narrow track - watch out for walkers)
Points of interest include:
Summit Tunnel - dating from 1877, this is 584m long, and was resurfaced together with the rest of the Rail Trail in 1999. The 1 in 15 gradient used for the Fell engines started part way through this tunnel.
More experienced mountain bikers may wish to explore several forestry roads between Ladle Bend and Summit. Take care as some tracks are steep and overgrown.
The side road near the kart track leads uphill to the airstrip and Goat Rock (579m). Follow the logging road west to Tunnel Gully Recreation Area.
South of Summit on the Wairarapa side, the Rimutaka Rail Trail includes the famous "Incline" to Cross Creek, 10km from Featherston. This steeper (1 in 15 grade) section is managed by the Department of Conservation as part of the Rimutaka Forest Park.
Points of interest include:
Following your trip you may like to visit Featherston's Fell Museum which houses the rebuilt H 199 - the only remaining Fell engine from the six that serviced the Rimutaka Incline for 77 years.