The Rimutaka Forest Park is a great place for camping and outdoor experiences, from easy walks to challenging wilderness hikes.
The 22,000 hectare Rimutaka Forest Park encompasses much of the Rimutaka Range, which divides the Hutt Valley from the Wairarapa Plains. Easily accessible from Wellington, the area is popular with hikers and hunters.
The popular Catchpool Valley recreational area is just 30 kilometres from Wellington. There are walks in the Catchpool Valley suitable for all ages and fitness levels. A campground, with tent and motorhome sites, caters for people wanting to stay longer in this wilderness area.
Forest cabins in the more remote Orongorongo Valley are available for exclusive hire and can be booked through the visitors centre.
The Rimutaka Forest Park contains native birdlife, including bellbirds, tui, kaka kereru and ruru. Red deer, goats, pigs and possums are also present. Recreational hunting of these introduced species is encouraged in specified areas.
Beech forest dominates much of the range, joined by other large native tree species at lower altitudes. In the northeastern corner of the park, a steep incline - created in 1878 for a rail route - provides one of the better mountain biking experiences in the Wellington region. The trains now use a tunnel deep in the mountain, but the incline is maintained by local authorities as a recreational area.