New Zealand Walk: Rail­way trail pop­u­lar with walk­ers as well as cy­clists

Walking New Zealand - - Contents -

The fa­mous Rimu­taka In­cline con­verted to a walk­ing and bik­ing track fol­lows the fa­mous Rimu­taka In­cline rail­way line. From part way through the Sum­mit Tunnel down to the rail yards the slope is typ­i­cally 1 in 15 - a mod­est gra­di­ent for a moun­tain bike, but ex­tremely steep for a rail­way line.

Along the way there are three tun­nels to pass through (in or­der, from the top): Sum­mit Tunnel (576m long), Siberia Tunnel (108m long), and Prices Tunnel (98m long).

It is ad­vis­able to take a light of some form for the Sum­mit Tunnel. Al­though the Sum­mit Tunnel is straight - so the other end is al­ways vis­i­ble - it can be quite a dis­ori­ent­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with only the light at the far end of the tunnel for guidence.

The other tun­nels are curved but are suf­fi­ciently short that they don’t re­ally re­quire a light (though hav­ing a light wouldn’t hurt).

About 0.4km down hill from the Sum­mit Tunnel there is a look­out (down a spur) that pro­vides sweep­ing views of the valley. The views are worth the short di­ver­sion.

Just be­low the Siberia Tunnel is Horse­shoe Gully - oth­er­wise known as “Siberia” due to the lo­cal mi­cro-cli­mate. There was a curved earth em­bank­ment across the gully un­til, in 1967, it was washed away.

Now there is a deep gully that has signs stat­ing “Steep, slip­pery ap­proach to creek bed. Cy­clists are ad­vised to dis­mount and walk”. Chances are you’ll have to dis­mount to cross the creek and as­cend the other side any­way. Note that the track on the sum­mit side of the gully is about 25m up­stream of the track on the Cross Creek side.

As would be ex­pected from an old rail­way line, the track it­self is fairly smooth and evenly

graded with gen­tle curves. Nonethe­less, watch out for the oc­ca­sional rut and stone on the track - espe­cially if de­scend­ing at speed.

The bot­tom of the track is at the old rail yards that formed the Cross Creek Sta­tion and set­tle­ment. From there, ei­ther re­turn back up the in­cline or con­tinue along the Cross Creek track­Rimu­taka Rail Trail – 3 hours one way

Turn off SH 2, 9 km north of Up­per Hutt, the turn off is sign­posted to Paku­ratahi For­est. The car park is 1km along a metal road.

You can also ac­cess the trail from Cross Creek in the Rimu­taka For­est Park, about 15 min­utes drive from Feather­ston. Turn onto Moore Street, Feather­ston, con­tinue onto Western Lake Road, and turn right onto Cross Creek Road.

Shut­tles can be ar­ranged for re­turn trans­port. Above right: Mem­bers of the Wed­nes­day Tram­pers at the Sum­mit of the Rimu­taka In­cline.

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