Soak up the landscapes and history of the Wellington region as you wind through the foothills of the Rimutaka Range from Petone to Orongorongo River.
This trail encompasses the Wairarapa region, famous for its world-class wines and charming townships.
Day 1: Arrive in Wellington
Dubbed as the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ by Lonely Planet, start your journey in Wellington before you set off to the trail, and explore the city by foot. Visit the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa; enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of Wētā Workshop or take a relaxed ride up the Wellington Cable Car from Lambton Quay in the CBD to the Botanic gardens.
Catch the train from Wellington to Petone to enjoy a hearty café breakfast in historic and funky Jackson Street. Then you’ll be set to pick up your bike and get pedalling. Begin the trail on the Hutt River, where it meanders easily for 6km on a sealed path – great for warming up the legs.
Stop for an ice cream or Devonshire tea just up Plateau Road before continuing on to Maymorn Station; it’s your last sugar fix for a while. From here the trail follows the old train line of the Fell Steam Engines which once serviced the Wellington Wairarapa line. The entrance to tunnel gully does have a short sharp climb but that’s as hard as it gets for the day. You’ll travel through several old train tunnels; the last before popping out into the Wairarapa is 570m long – take a strong torch!
You might like to book a shuttle to transfer you from Cross Creek to your accommodation depending on how energetic you're feeling.
Day 4: Explore Wairarapa by bike
Ride into the historic rail town of Featherston and visit the Fell Engine Museum to see the actual train that once travelled the route you road yesterday. Or ride through to the gorgeous wine village of Martinborough and visit a few cellar doors. Or shorten up tomorrows ride by travelling a bit further south along the banks of Lake Wairarapa for lunch at the luxury lodge, Wharekauhau; Prince William and Kate enjoyed their time there and you’re just as welcome in your lycra.
Accommodation: Where you stayed on day 3
Day 5: Wairarapa to Wellington, 54km
The route takes you around the very rugged south coast. You will cross several streams that have descended from the Rimutaka mountains bringing tons of rock down with them. Other significant land shifts will be seen where earthquake scarring has moved the land up and down by up to 8 metres in places. The ocean on your left offers no landfall between you and Antarctica. The trail is rough and forever changing but always spectacular, so take your time and plenty of rests and photo stops.
Accommodation: Orongorongo Station or catch a shuttle to Wellington