Rimu­taka trail ex­tended

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By JIM CHIPP

The Rimu­taka In­cline trail has long been a pop­u­lar fam­ily cy­cling ex­pe­di­tion, but now it is pos­si­ble to start your mis­sion fur­ther south tak­ing in the up­graded Hutt River trail.

The com­bined trails of­fer a whole day out­ing or a good start to a full week­end.

It is pos­si­ble to get there from Pe­tone Sta­tion, us­ing the short Hutt Road cy­cle way, un­der the Pe­tone Es­planade rail bridge and fol­low­ing the Es­planade to Hikoikoi Re­serve and the Hutt River Trail. How to get there Take a train to Pe­tone Sta­tion, or to Feather­ston Sta­tion.

Al­ter­na­tively, drive or ride to the east side of the estuary bridge across the Hutt River to be­gin the ride north along the river.

From Feather­ston Rail­way Sta­tion head east across State High­way 2 and then take West Lake Rd to Cross Creek to pick up the rail trail, about 10km along a quiet road. Ad­vice Bike route guide au­thor Jonathon Ken­nett said he had never ex­pe­ri­enced dif­fi­culty get­ting his bike on to the train, but if you are trav­el­ling in a group, he ad­vised call­ing TranzMetro Group Book­ings on 498 3103 be­fore leav­ing.

‘‘Let them know you are a group trav­el­ling with bikes and they’ll make sure the larger car­riage is put on.’’

When you get up in the morn­ing, check the wind be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion about which way to travel.

The rail trail be­tween Feather­ston and Up­per Hutt is rea­son­ably shel­tered but the Hutt River trail is ex­posed, Mr Ken­nett said.

‘‘If it’s a really good northerly, catch the train to Feather­ston and ride back, with the wind be­hind you on the Hutt River Trail. You might as well en­joy rid­ing down­wind.’’

The Hutt River Trail and the In­cline Trail

From Hikoikoi Re­serve fol­low the river trail and the foot­path across the estuary bridge to the east side of the river and the start of the Hutt River Trail.

The trail runs all the way to Man­garoa River, where a path­way un­der the bridge crosses State High­way 2.

Fol­low the path to Te Marua dairy up Plateau Rd to May­morn Sta­tion and fol­low the signs to the In­cline Trail via Tun­nel Gully. Be­ware of a T-in­ter­sec­tion where the sign­post points right to the In­cline. Turn­ing ei­ther way will get you there, but the route to the right is via a huge hill. To the left is slightly longer but eas­ier and takes no longer.

When you get to the In­cline Trail it’s plain sail­ing to Cross Creek. High­lights The rail trail is the high­light, es­pe­cially the sum­mit tun­nel.

It is 600 me­tres long and a torch or bike head­light is use­ful.

‘‘The sum­mit tun­nel is quite in­cred­i­ble really. Stop on the east­ern side and look back – that is def­i­nitely the photo spot,’’ Mr Ken­nett said.

There is also a wa­ter­fall by the tun­nel exit, but you won’t see it if you don’t stop and look back, he said.

The river trail from Pe­tone and Ewen Bridge is a great com­mu­nity as­set, he said.

‘‘I think Hutt City Coun­cil has done an amaz­ing job.’’

Peo­ple take more than a mil­lion walking or cy­cling trips along it each year, he said. When you get there Cross Creek – ‘‘Ring for a shut­tle ser­vice to take you to Mart­in­bor­ough for the week­end, or cy­cle 10km to Feather­ston and catch the train home.’’

In Feather­ston, the Fell En­gine Mu­seum is well worth a visit to see the spe­cial trains that once crossed the in­cline and an ex­cel­lent video.

Cy­clists trav­el­ling from Cross Creek to Pe­tone will have some­thing else to look for­ward to – ‘‘an ice­cream and a swim’’.

Photo: JONATHAN KEN­NETT

Photo op: Cy­clists pause at the Wairarapa en­trance to the Sum­mit Tun­nel on the Rimu­taka In­cline Trail.

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