Totara Park to Birchville
The open parklands, remnant trees and rocky outcrops in this area are a natural highlight of the Trail. You can still see the abutments of the historic swingbridge at Maoribank corner and there is good swimming in this part of the river.
Harcourt Park is the scenic backdrop to an adventure playground, motor camp and outdoor stage. It is also a popular spot for The Lord of the Rings fans as it was the site of Isengard, the ancient Gondorian fortress at the southern end of the Misty Mountains, facing Rohan.
You can cross the footbridge and continue upstream along the west bank or follow the trail behind Harcourt Park where it passes under the Akatarawa Road bridge. This then climbs up onto the stopbank and continues north coming out at the Te Marua Store. To connect with the Rimutaka Rail Trail turn right at the Te Marua Store and follow Maymorn Road.
Near the confluence of the Hutt and Akatarawa Rivers there are popular swimming holes, car parks and river rafting access.
The trail continues under the Birchville Bridges and takes on a more rural aspect with views over the river to farmland and bush. Passing through two stands of remnant kahikatea, totara and beech it reaches SH2 just north of the intersection with Topaz St. Return to the bridges the same way or via Topaz St and Gemstone Drive. Follow Bridge Road and the riverbank track back to Totara Park.