Akatarawa Forest Park


Description

The akatarawa forest park stretches in the triangle between Waikanae, Upper Hutt and Pauatanhanui. Its my favourite biking playground with awesome views, some challenging terrain and relatively easy access along 4wd tracks. Walking in Akatarawa Forest Park is also doable but this is real backcountry so should not be taken lightly.


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Karapoti to McGhies bridge

Karapoti










This is a fairly gentle introduction into the Akatarawa Forest Park running on the side of the Akatarawa River West through the gorge. A small and gentle climb towards the mid point of the track shouldn't worry anyone although some of the puddles may look more like ponds if you've had rain recently.

Time and Difficulty

The walking track time is around 90 to 110 minutes one way on a well formed 4wd road. Bikers can expect to get to the bridge in around 45-60 minutes and return in 30-45 minutes.

Distance and Height

4.1km from the carpark to the bridge, starting at 120m above sealevel until 225m at the highest point in the gorge.



McGhies Bridge to Pram track junction

Karapoti










This is a fantastic ride over a well formed road through a riverside pine plantation and open, rolling country. If you aren't in a hurry rest and enjoy the solitude. There are some side tracks but the main drag is fairly obvious.

Time and Difficulty

The walking track time is around 30 minutes one way on a well formed gravel road. Bikers can expect to take around 10 minutes both ways.

Distance and Height

1.8km from the bridge to the junction, starting at 206m above sealevel and rising until 220m at the highest point at the junction.



Pram track junction to Rock garden via Deadwood

Karapoti










This section of the Karapoti classic gets a little rougher than the earlier sections but nothing that can't be handled by those with a decent bike. While it's also possible to walk, this section will take a LLLOOONNNGGG time and leave you in the middle of nowhere. From the junction the road continues to meander along the side of the river eventually rising steeply up the mountains. Beware the false tops that will have you thinking its over sooner than it really is.

Time and Difficulty

This section will take around 2-2.5 hours to bike uphill or around 1 hour if coming the other way.

Distance and Height

12.9km from the junction to the Rock Garden turnoff, starting at 220m above sealevel and rising until 576m at Deadwood.



Rock Garden to Devils Staircase to Perhams Road

Karapoti This section is easily the most difficult in the park, particularly after the relatively gentle introduction into the heart of the park. Its tough, remote and makes grown men cry and swear never again (but they always come back). The fun starts with the rock garden, named after the large rocks 'growing' on the track from the top to the river at the bottom. This is followed by a deceptively flat section around the river and finally the climb back up the Devils Staircase named after the muddy lakes and steep climbs. From the top you'll finally get to jump back on your bike and enjoy a relatively gentle ride to the junction with Perhams Road.

Time and Difficulty

This section will take cyclists around 2 hours with most of your time off your bike

Distance and Height

7.1km from the top of the Rock Garden to the function with Perhams Road. The track starts and ends at around 480m above sealevel.



Perhams Road

Perhams Road










This is one of the two entries into the Akatarawa Forest Park from the Kapiti Coast. Its a reasonably gentle introduction with a well graded gravel road running from lush forest up to open scrublands at the top of the hill. Keep an ear out for motor and quad bikers but in general everyones well behaved. The road has some views but not as good as Campbell Mill Road

Time and Difficulty

This section will take around 0:45-1 hour to bike uphill but you can save around quarter of an hour going the other way. If walking allow around 1-1.5 hours.

Distance and Height

6.7km from Maungakotukutuku Road to the junction with Campbell Mill Road.



Campbell Mill Road

Campbell Mills Road










This road has awesome views over Queen Elizabeth Park and out to Kapiti Island. It follows the transmission lines from Maungakotukutuku Road up towards Mount Wainui sidling the ridge with a gentle climb. Great fun on a bike, particularly when coming out of the park. The road itself isn't as well formed as Perhams Road but also isn't difficult. This is one of my favourite rides. You can also take a side track into Whareroa Farm if you want a slightly longer trip.

Time and Difficulty

This section will take around 0:45-1 hour to bike uphill but you can save around quarter of an hour going the other way. If walking allow around an hour.

Distance and Height

6.1km from Maungakotukutuku Road to the junction with Perhams Road.



Hydro Road

Hydro Rd










This road runs down the flat Whakatiki river valley towards Norms Crossing then back up towards Toi-toi Road on the opposit ridge. The scenary is unique and you'll feel very remote. If you've got the time this is a great place for an overnight camp or you can stay at Orange Hut it you can find it. The road is rough in places but rideable, just make sure you keep an ear out for motor and quadbikes that use the area.

Time and Difficulty

This section will take around an hour to bike into the valley but allow an extra quarter of an hour when you leave. If walking allow an hour and change.

Distance and Height

5.3km from Perhams Road to the junction with Whakatiki Road. Height above sealevel ranges between 195 and 395m.



Whakatiki Road

Whakatiki Road










This road runs up from the Whakatiki River to Perhams Road on a reasonably gentle ridge. If you're going down the hill its a great rush on a bike but the usual warning about motor and quadbikes apply. This is a fast section of the Karapoti Classic bike race.

Time and Difficulty

This section will take around an hour to bike into the valley but allow an extra quarter of an hour when you leave. If walking allow an hour and change.

Distance and Height

4.4km from Perhams Road to the junction with Hydro Road and Dopers. Height above sealevel runs from 390 to 206m.



Dopers and Pram track

Pram Track










This gravel road runs from the junction of Hydro and Whakatiki Roads over the hill to Karapoti and the Akatarawa River Valley. The road is in good condition with the exception of some short, heavily eroded sections at the top of the Pram Track before descending into Karapoti. Great views back over the Whakitiki and Akatarawa Rivers.

Time and Difficulty

This section will take around 1.5-2 hours both ways but allow more time if you're covering the Karapoti Classic course to enjoy the last run out of the park.

Distance and Height

7.8km from the junction with Hydro Road over to the junction with Karapoti. Height above sealevel runs from 200 or so metres on both sides to a high point of 540m.



Bulls Run Road loop

Clearys Road










Half of this loop is a gentle gravel road followed by a rugged 4wd track. While a bike can be fun on this loop you will be pushing it part of the way and its best to do the rugged bit first. The loop runs through native bush and pine forest with some good views out over the Whakatiki River.

Time and Difficulty

This section will take around 1.5-2 hours on a bike both ways but allow an extra half hour if you're walking.

Distance and Height

7.1km from the gate at the bottom of Bulls Run Road to the junction with the Whakatiki River. Height above sealevel runs from 100m or so metres to 390m.



Puketiro Road

Puketiro Rd This is a fairly constant climb up from Bulls Run Road to the ridge above Paekakariki Road and Battle Hill. This road also provides access into the Whakatiki River area via Hydro Road for the more adventurous. The gravel road itself is in good condition and is well looked after by the regional council. Access is reasonable with the exception of the rather uninviting gate near Bulls Run Road but this is there to keep motorbikes out.

Time and Difficulty

On a bike allow around 1-1.5 hard hours to get to the top but half this if you're going the other way. Walk takes around 1.5 hours either way.

Distance and Height

8.3km from the junction with Bulls Run Road to the junction at the top of the ridge.



Battle Hill Reserve

Battle Hill is a unique historic farm park with a number of walks and bike rides mainly targeted at families and those who like to take their time. It is one of the access points into the Akatarawa Forest Park and is a combination of farm land and pine forest with a little native bush in the lower river valley. Most of the walks are short and don't require much fitness however the views are good and the history sites make it more interesting.




Time and Difficulty

The track times vary between around an hour for the Battle Hill loop and half an hour to do the lower wetland track.



Water Storage to Mt Wainui track

Karapoti










This little used 4wd track provides access via the ridgeline to the start of the Mt Wainui track. The views out over Porirua and down Transmission Gully are awesome and the track provides some good novice mountain biking. Please beware of any forestry work being done in the area.

Time and Difficulty

This section will take around 1.5-2.0 hours with a small saving if coming back into Battle Hill.

Distance and Height

5.9km from the junction with Peketiro Rd to the start of the Mt Wainui track. When I last did this track in 2011 all the side tracks were either overgrown of led to a deadend. The track runs between 309m and 558m above sealevel.



Mt Wainui Track

Mt Wanui










This under used track provides access to the top of Mt Wainui, a very prominant peak in the North Wellington region and the amongst the highest outside the Rimutuka's. The very top features awesome views out over Paraparaumu and Kapiti Island which are well worth the slog through the fairly thick bush from both directions. Please note when I did this track in 2011 it wasn't in the best shape but was followable provided you kept an eye out for markers. Best to take a GPS along. This track isn't suited to mountain biking but you can carry/push your bike through as I stupidly did. On the south side the going is muddy in places but not too difficult whereas the north side is steeper but easier to follow.

Time and Difficulty

Allow around two hours to complete the trip from one side to the other. On a nice day give yourself a decent rest at the highpoint and take it all in.

Distance and Height

3.8km long and running between 550m and 715m above sealevel.



Mt Wainui Forest Loop

Mt Wanui Forest Loop










While this track is best known as the access road to get up Mt Wainui it is quite a good wander by in its own right. The views of the Kapiti Coast and Campbell Mill Road are pretty good on a nice day and the travel is reasonably easy.

Time and Difficulty

Allow around an hour to complete the round trip or between 15 and 30 minutes if you want to link the Mt Wainui track with Campbell Mill Rd.

Distance and Height

The round trip is 3.7km however Mt Wainui to Campbell Mill Road is a more managable 1.8km



Rimu Rd

Rimu Rd










This road is in pretty good condition and slowly rises from the Whakatiki River to join the Toi-toi road and Cleary road at the top of the ridge. The grade is pretty consistent but never steep however unfortunately the scrubby bush doesn't give you much of a view.

Time and Difficulty

Allow around 30 - 45 minutes to get from the river up to the ridgeline and around 20 minutes if walking or much quicker on a bike. The gradient up is can be biked but personally I'd rather enjoy the wander.

Distance and Height

3.7km long and running between 190m and 510m vertical above sealevel.



Toi-toi Road

Clearys Road










While this track is steep at the Puketiro Road end it does level out nicely between Hydro Saddle and Cleary's road. The road is also a little rutted in places but nothing that requires to much effort to get round. Not too sure why its named Toi-toi Road as the Toitoi isn't particularly common.

Time and Difficulty

Allow around an hour to an hour and a half to complete the trip both ways although on a bike going from Clearies Road to Puketiro will be faster.

Distance and Height

7.1km from Puketiro Road to Clearies Road. Vertical height runs from 190m at the creek off the side of Puketiro Road to 510m at the top of Hydro Saddle and near the junction with Rimu Road.



Norms Crossing

Orange Hut










This well formed 4wd track runs along the Whakatiki river between Orange Hut and Whakatiki Road. Overall this is a very cruisy ride/walk in a very cool valley (the so called Hydro Valley) although a little muddy after rain. Beware of Quad-bikes and Motorcycles.

Time and Difficulty

The walking track time is around 15 minutes on a well formed gravel road. Bikers can expect to take between 5 and 10 minutes but beware there are some small uphill sections.

Distance and Height

1.5km from Orange Hut to the junction with Whakatiki Road. Vertical height runs between 195m and 245m, just enough to be annoying on a bike.





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2 COMMENTS POSTED about Akatarawa Forest Park



Ian: (posted 2013-01-21 12:31:05)
Just to be aware - after a day or so of rainfall you will encounter slips and rockfall so be careful. Rivers at this time are high but recede very quickly. Thanks


Matt: (posted 2013-01-21 12:31:05)
You're right Ian and the good quality of some of the access tracks lulls people into false security. I haven't got into trouble myself but whenever you cross rivers always think about whether you'll still be able to cross when you come back.


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