Riding The Remutaka Cycle Trail

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Our guide to one of Wellington and New Zealand great bike rides

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The Remutaka Cycle Trail is not just one of the best bike trails in Wellington but one of New Zealand's top trails and a must for biking enthusiasts.  The trail features four main sections and should take 3 to 4 days to ride.   

The trail initially tracks the beautiful Hutt Valley River, before following an old rail trail that leads through the Remutaka Ranges and to rural Wairarapa and boutique vineyards.  The next section takes you to the rugged South Coast and onto Ocean Beach village. The final section runs north to the Orongorongo River and the Wainuiomata Coast Road which provides a link back to Wellington.

Bike hire (standard and e-bike), trail shuttles and baggage transfers are all available for single or multi-day rides.  You can check our biking category for booking options.

The Ride Sections Summary:

1.  Petone to Maymorn
Distance:  35km. 3 - 5 hours. Grade 2.

The first stage of the Remutaka Cycle Trail follows the popular Hutt River Trail, weaving its way from the Petone Wharf through riverside parkland until you reach Maymorn.  This stage features some of New Zealand's most important cultural history along the way, including Maori pa (fortified villages) and early European settlements.  It's worth a stop at the beginning to visit the Petone Settlers Museum and then Boulcott's Farm Incident.

2. Maymorn to Cross Creek
Distance:  25km. 3 - 4 hours. Grade 2 & 3.

This stage of the Remutaka Cycle Trail continues along an old railway route which was built in 1878 to connect Wellington and the Wairarapa.  This is the historic part of the trail as it passes through the Remutaka Ranges.  You'll ride through restored rail tunnels, cross the historic 'Howe' truss bridge spanning the Pakuratahi River, and through old railyards.  It's then a climb up through forest to the summit of the Ranges.

Thankfully, it's then a downhill ride along the historic Fell Locomotive Incline with an exciting half-kilometre ride via the Summit Tunnel.  At the bottom of the hill at  Cross Creek you'll enter the wide-open space of the Wairarapa Valley (the start of section three).  At Cross Creek you can turn off on Western Lake Road and continue onto Featherston which is 12km away with accommodation options. Or, continue onto the next stage.  

3. Cross Creek to Ocean Beach
Distance:  36km. 2 - 3hours. Grade 3.

The next leg of the Remutaka Cycle Trail begins at Cross Creek and ends up 36 kilometres later at Ocean Beach, a small village nestled on the South Coast of the Wairarapa.  Riding south-west you'll reach the shores of Lake Wairarapa and grazing farmland enjoyed by sheep and cattle.  It's then onto Lake Onoke where indigenous and migratory waterbirds flock and have been hunted by Maori for centuries.  The last section brings you into the village of Ocean Beach.

4. Ocean Beach to Orongorongo
Distance:  18km. 3-5 hours. Grade 3.

The last stage of the Remutaka Cycle leads you Orongorongo Station, one of the longest running farm operations in New Zealand.  On a clear day, enjoy expansive views all the way to the Kaikoura Ranges.   Passing by Turakirae Head and the raised beaches formed by tectonic shifts over the past 7,000 years, you can observe the fur seals that make their home here each winter.  The final leg leads north to the mouth of the Orongorongo River where the Wainuiomata Coast Road provides a link back to Wellington.

Remutaka Cycle Trail - The Basics:

  • Length:  112.9km
  • Duration:  3 - 4 days
  • Start:  Petone Wharf on the Petone Esplanade. It ends at the mouth of the Orongorongo River on Wainuiomata Coast Road.  
  • There are regular bus and train services to the start and finish points of each of the four sections of the trail, including Petone, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, the Wairarapa, and Wellington CBD.  
  • Toilets are located on Petone Esplanade, Hutt River Trail, Cross Creek, Corner Creek, Baring Head (4km up Wainuiomata Coast Road).
  • Get food and drink supplies from Petone, Lower Hutt, Upper Hutt, or Featherston before setting off.
  • Parking is at the Petone Esplanade, Kaitoke, Cross Creek, Featherston, Wainuiomata Beach, and numerous places along the Hutt River.
Be Prepared:
  • Take enough food and water for your whole trip.
  • Take sunscreen, warm waterproof clothing and suitable footwear.
  • You can check the track status on the New Zealand Cycle Trail website.

More Info:

For details of biking operators, please visit our biking category.
More details of the trail - visit Wellington Regional Trails website
Bus Services - check the Metlink website for schedule and pricing.
More guide information on Wellington is featured on our regional info section.
For more inspiration on what to do in Wellington visit our Things To Do section and our Travel Articles section.