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Early Maori walking routes passed through this area, linking the fertile plains of Wairarapa with the port of Wellington.
Today, large areas of original lowland rainforest remain, enhanced by well formed walking tracks and attractive riverside picnic and motorhome areas.
Kaitoke Regional Park was the filming location for Rivendell and the Fords of Isen in the The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. The whole area is distinctly elvish, with light filtering through ancient trees and clear babbling brooks. You'll soon feel the magical tranquillity that surrounded the house of Elrond.
The park contains nearly 2500 hectares of mature native forest, including beech, rimu, northern rata, hinau and kamahi. At the popular Pakuratahi Forks, ancient rata and rimu tower over a canopy of kamahi, hinau and miro. The park is also home to rare birds - kaka, yellow-crowned parakeet and a significant number of New Zealand falcon.
The clear, deep pools of the Hutt and Pakuratahi Rivers are ideal for swimming, while the undisturbed Hutt River Gorge gives kayakers a chance to journey through forests and landscapes that have hardly changed in centuries. Kayakers will encounter grade 3 rapids, so experience is necessary.
Kaitoke Regional Park is a 50 minute drive north of downtown Wellington.