Rimutaka Cycle Trail
An unforgettable ride that takes you through the region's most amazing scenery. From the capital city of Wellington to Wairarapa, the trail winds through the foothills of the Rimutaka Range, across farmland and around the rugged coastline to Orongorongo River.
Ride the whole trail over 4 or 5 days, or select a section.
Sections of the trail are challenging. Get prepared and stay safe.
THE WHOLE TRAIL
Day One - Wellington to Hutt Valley - 33km
Catch the train from Wellington to Petone. The trail starts on flat easy sealed trail winding beside the Hutt River.
Day Two - Hutt Valley to Wairarapa - 25km
The trail follows the old rail line across the Rimutaka Range on the Rimutaka Rail Trail. You might like to book a shuttle with Rimutaka Shuttles or Martinborough Shuttles to transfer from Cross Creek to your accommodation or add on a few extra kilometres.
Day Three - Wairarapa Exploring
Plenty of options here! Ride into Featherston and see the Fell Engine Museum which houses the last train to operate on the line you road yesterday. Or explore the little wine village of Martinborough which produces some big Pinot Noirs. Or head down past Lake Wairarapa towards the south coast. So much to do you might take an extra day in the Wairarapa to explore properly.
Day Four - Wairarapa to Wellington - 54km
The route takes you around the rugged south coast to Wellington. You'll cross a few mountain streams which have brought tons of rubble down out of the Rimutaka Range. Earthquake scarring with shifts off up to eight metres can be seen and there's nothing on your left except ocean until you reach Antarctica.
Find accommodation on the trail
TOP TRAIL PICKS - FROM WELLINGTON
To the summit and back (2hr return, easy to intermediate)
This is a great little half-day trip if you've never tried the trail before. Pack a picnic, pop the bikes on the car and drive to Kaitoke, 45 minutes north of Wellington. From there, head off on a stunning, gentle ride up through native bush and tunnels and over bridges to Summit Station. To get to the start of the ride, turn off SH2 about 9km north of Upper Hutt (look out for the sign saying Pakuratahi Forest). There's a carpark 1km along the road.
If you'd rather not drive you can catch the train from Wellington to Maymorn station and start the trail from there - it's just a bit longer.
Wairarapa day-trip (3hr one way, easy to intermediate)
No car? No problem. Take a 40-minute scenic train trip from Wellington city to Maymorn, hop straight onto the cycle trail and ride up to the summit. From there, it's down through dramatic gullies and rolling farmland to Cross Creek. Carry on to the shops and cafes of Featherston (9km) on the handy off-road limestone trail, then catch the train home. Check out a train timetable. Or head further down the trail and stay overnight.
Where to stay
- Historic Waiorongomai Station - beautiful rooms, setting and story
- Western Lake Bach - an old farmhouse with excellent views
- Western Lake Woolshed - done up in style!
- Te Rakau - sleep in a converted train carriage and go bird watching the next day
- Wharekauhau Country Estate - pure luxury, for the night or just lunch
- Camp at Corner Creek at the far end of Ocean Beach.
- Drive or catch the train to Featherston then cycle the hour to Cross Creek, all on off-road limestone trail.
- Book a shuttle with Rimutaka Shuttles or Martinborough Shuttles.
Other handy things to know
- Be prepared - here's how
- Book a shuttle to get you home
- Done the trail? Tell us about it with this quick survey