16 – 17 July, 2022 Remuataka Rail Trail and Kiriwhakapapa Tramps
We left Pukahu at the ungodly hour of 6 AM (well just before actually) as John couldn’t be swayed on a later start. Peter and Simon drove us all the way down to Featherston and to the end of Cross Creek Road where the northern end of the Remutaka Rail Trail starts. John had cunningly organised us a shuttle to get us down to the other end of the track and this arrived shortly after us. We hopped in the shuttle, drove over the Remutaka Hill and were at the Kaitoke end of the track ready to start walking around 11 o’clock.
The Remutaka Rail trail was lovely. I would say its better done on a bike. Lots of dark, dark tunnels, bonus toilets at the summit, gravel road 90% of walk. It was a 18km walk, 28,000 – 32,000 steps depending on how short your legs are. Surprised to see a shooting range on the track. Very lucky if you live in Wellington, its a cool bike riding activity for everyone.
We were lucky to have no wind or rain but it was icy cool which was fine if you kept walking. Not really any shade for a summer walk. The more attractive side would be to bike from the Kaitoke carpark as the incline is smaller.
It was a walk to take in the history of the area and not its natural beauty (predominantly pine forest at the Kaitoke end and regenerating scrub land, reminiscent of the Maikaro track, at the Cross Creek end). However there were some picturesque places along the way and the tunnels were fun to walk through.
We arrived back at the van around 4, the walk taking 5 hours, and drove to the holiday park at Carterton where we were staying. We capped the day of with a wonderful meal at the Carterton RSA; great food speedily prepared, friendly staff and a sticky date pudding to die for.
Our second day tramping in the Wairarapa was to do some of the Tararuas ranges and we split up into 2x groups:
The first group of Susan, Anne, Glenda & Peter was dropped off first at the end of Mikimiki Road to walk the Old Tram Track. They had to start in an area where a mini hoar frost had set in. The track initially follows the Mikimiki Stream and is mainly flat through lovely bush (including a number of large rata) with bridges across a number of side streams. The track then crossed the unbridged Mikimiki Stream (so it was wet boots after all) after which there was a small climb and then along and down to Kiriwhakapapa. The walk was 7.6 km long and it took total of 3 hours so they got out of the bush before the second group.
The 2nd group of Anthea, Simon, Jude and John parked the van at the Kiriwhakapapa DOC camp-site, got their boots on and set off for the Blue Range Hut. It started out with a flat walk through the redwood forest and then they got hit with a gruelling 1hr and 40min uphill climb to the hut.
The hut is such a pretty blue hut with quirky little signs all over the place. It had a cute little fireplace and only 4 bunks inside the hut. An outdoor table with an amazing view of the Northern Tararua ranges was placed in the sun.
After a 20 minute lunch the wind became icy so we popped on our puffer jackets and started our decline down the hill to the van. It was nice to get back to the camp-site, the total return trip took just over 4 hours which is good exercise for the legs. So, 20,000 or so steps with a total of 7.2 kms under our belt.
Highly recommend both tracks. Good for hiking, hunting parties and a few friendly doggies on the track.
The trip back home took us around 2.5 hours with high spirits, chocolate biscuits and jelly beans to keeps us going.
Party: John M, Simon W, Peter B, Anthea C, Jude H, Anne D and Glenda H.