Te Ara Tirohanga (formerly the Rimutaka Trig Track)
The summit of the Rimutaka Hill Road, SH2 is well known to motorists as a wild place. The road is often shrouded in mist and scoured by severe northwest gales, and sometimes closed by snow in winter.
The forest that once covered this mountainous landscape was once as luxuriant as that you can see today on the Akatarawa Road just 20 km to the west. But the Rimutaka Hill forests were burned off more than 130 years ago when the road was built.
The fire damage was particularly severe on the drier northwest-facing slopes. Rain subsequently washed away much of the soil and the slopes were then colonised by gorse.
The Te Ara Tirohanga (formerly the Rimutaka Trig Track) starts near the summit of the Rimutaka Hill Road (555m) and climbs to the northern crest of the Rimutaka Range (725m). The track zig-zags its way up the exposed slope, where native trees and shrubs have slowly returned. Low forest, tightly packed shrubland and alpine grasses and lichens are found on the way to the summit. On a clear day you get superb views of southern Wairarapa including Lake Wairarapa and from the Aorangi Mountains south to Cape Palliser. Take your camera!
The Rimutaka Trig track was renamed Te Ara Tirohanga in May 2012 by local Iwi. The literal translation of the name is "The view that improves as you climb the ascending pathway"
Wear windproof clothing and strong footwear, as the terrain is rocky and exposed.