New Zealand Walk: Trail great for fam­i­lies with kids

Walking New Zealand - - Contents -

The Rimu­taka Rail Trail is a gen­tly graded 18 km walk or moun­tain bike ride and makes up part of the Nga Haerenga, New Zealand Cy­cle Trail, ‘Great Ride’, Rimu­taka Cy­cle Trail.

The walk is ex­cel­lent for fam­i­lies with chil­dren who can be coaxed along by the next rail­way ruin, old rail bridge or tunnel (def­i­nitely take a torch). The walk is graded as in­ter­me­di­ate.

A rail route es­tab­lished in 1878 be­tween the Hutt Valley and Feather­ston car­ried pas­sen­gers up the steep in­cline from the Rimu­taka sum­mit to Feather­ston un­til the open­ing of the Rimu­taka Rail Tunnel in 1955. The in­no­va­tive Fell moun­tain rail­way sys­tem pulled trains up the steep slope of the Rimu­taka In­cline.

In­ter­pre­ta­tion pan­els telling the colour­ful sto­ries as­so­ci­ated with the for­mer rail line have been in­stalled along the trail.

There are plenty of photo op­por­tu­ni­ties along the trail, and a view­ing plat­form lo­cated be­tween the Sum­mit and Siberia Tun­nels of­fers a panoramic view of the old Fell en­gine route com­ing up from Cross Creek to the Sum­mit.

To get a bet­ter feel for the his­tory of the trail, make sure to take time to visit the Fell En­gine Mu­seum in Feather­ston.

There’s camp­ing at La­dle Bend and the Sum­mit along the Rimu­taka Rail Trail. The camp­ing area at La­dle Bend lies be­low the Rail Trail near the Paku­ratahi River. There is a pit toi­let at La­dle Bend and flush toi­lets at the Sum­mit. How to get there Turn off SH 2, 9 km north of Up­per Hutt, the turn off is sign­posted to Paku­ratahi For­est. The carpark is 1 km along a metal road.

You can also ac­cess the trail from Cross Creek in the Rimu­taka For­est Park, about an hour and 15 min­utes drive from Welling­ton across the Rimu­taka Hill Road. Turn onto Moore St, Feather­ston, con­tinue into Western Lake Rd, and turn right onto Cross Creek Road.

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