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The 115km Rimutaka Cycle Trail starts at Petone’s foreshore, then runs through the Wairarapa before finishing at Wainuiomata’s Orongorongo River. If you’re in Wellington, both trains and ferries are available to take you to the start of the trail.
The Rimutaka Cycle Trail is one of New Zealand’s Great Rides and part of Nga Haerenga – The New Zealand Cycle Trail. Made up of four sections the trail can be completed in parts or as a whole 2-3 day experience.
Section 1: Petone Foreshore to Maymorn
35km, 3-5 Hours, Grade 2 – Easy
Beginning in Petone, through riverside parkland and along the Hutt River Trail, this first part of the ride is family-friendly and great for casual cyclists or as a warm up. Moving into the forested section, riders pass sites of early European settlement and Maori pa before leaving the riverbank at Te Marua and entering Tunnel Gully, marking the second part of the trail.
Section 2: Maymorn to Cross Creek
25km, 3-4 Hours, Grade 2-3 – Easy to Intermediate
Threaded through the Rimutaka Ranges, riders follow the old 1878 railway route, plunging through restored rail tunnels and across bridges. A mix of native bush and plantation flank the climb to the Summit before riders head off on the downhill leg which includes tunnels up to 584m long.
Riders pass through the old railyards and follow the descent path of the historic Fell Locomotive Incline before emerging from the ranges into the Wairarapa valley.
Section 3: Cross Creek to Ocean Beach
36km, 2-3 Hours, Grade 3 – Intermediate [On Road]
Here riders reach Western-Lake Road where they can turn left and head to Featherston (12km) to end the day’s ride or turn right and continue the trail along the shores of Lake Wairarapa to the wild southern coast of Ocean Beach.
Section 4: Ocean Beach to Orongorongo
18km, 3-5 Hours, Grade 3 – Intermediate
The final section of the trail takes in the rugged beauty of the South Coast. On a clear day, riders will see the South Island’s Kaikoura Ranges across Cook Strait. At Turakirae Head, riders will find unique, geologically raised beaches. This headland is also home to a colony of up to 500 fur seals each winter.
The trail then turns north to the mouth of the Orongorongo River where the Wainuiomata Coast Road provides a link back to the city of Wellington.
For information on getting here, accommodation, pick-ups and bike hire, visit RimutakaCycleTrail.com