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Remutaka Rail Trail

Remutaka Rail Trail

Updated 1 November 2018 3:45pm

Leaving Summit tunnel

Running from Kaitoke to Summit, the Remutaka Rail Trail links with the DOC-managed Incline down to Cross Creek in the Wairarapa. Enjoy swimming and fishing in the nearby Pakuratahi River and picnic or camp in the pleasant surrounds of Ladle Bend and Summit. Toilets are located at the Kaitoke and Cross Creek entrances, at Summit and at the historic Cross Creek town site.


Aerial Possum Control Operational Pakuratahi Forest- Spring 2018

OSPRI New Zealand have now undertaken (19/09/2018) an Aerial Possum Control Operation to help reduce the possum population and prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis (TB). See the OSPRI Fact Sheet or for further information please go to or call 0800 482 463.

Remutaka Rail trail pre-winter spruce up happening April - May 2018

Vegetation clearance around historic structures like bridges, tunnels and culverts is being undertaken to preserve the structures and keep this trail to a high standard recreational users expect.

The work will be undertaken from Tuesday 3 April and is part of Greater Wellington's regular maintenance of this great trail. 

Signage will be in place during the clearance work.

Access to this trail will still be possible during this work but we do ask people to take extra care as they enjoy their ride or walk.

Questions and Answers:

What is the work GWRC is doing along the trail?

We’re undertaking vegetation clearance around bridges, tunnels and culverts along this trail during April and May. If you’re one of the thousands who enjoy this “great ride” then watch out for the team clearing vegetation and mould from the historical structures along the trail. Access to this trail will still be possible during the work but we do ask people to take extra care as they enjoy the ride.

Why are you doing this work?

This is part of our regular maintenance work along this trail. Part of our role is guardianship of these historic assets and we have a duty of care to protect them.

Do you need to use chemicals to do this work?

To protect these structures in the park, we do need to use agrichemicals to ensure vegetation is completely removed from the historic stonework. The structures will be chemically treated to control lichen, moss and mould in order to prevent rot and decay – keeping these structures safe in the long term. This work means you will see our team kitted out in their protective clothing along the trail and even abseiling on some of our structures.

What about protecting people using the trail while you are doing this work?

Safety of everyone, our staff and our park users, is key to what and how we are doing our work. By treating these structures we can prevent rot which can affect the long term stability of the structures and the work is needed to keep them safe for park visitors and users. To keep you safe we are only going to be working on small sections along the trail. All the work is being done by our qualified staff and contractors, to ensure everyone is safe and we achieve the desired results that users value about this trail. You can still safely use the trail but do read the signs and follow all directions.

Why do your staff need to wear protective clothing?

Because they do this work each and every day and we have rules around safety we need to comply with.

Will I notice the changes?

Regular users along the trail will notice that vegetation has been removed or is dying back areas around the culverts, bridges and tunnels and the structures will look different. The structures will look cleaner and this is perfectly normal. 

Points of Interest 

  • Siberia tunnel -1878, 108m long
  • Horsehoe "Siberia" gully - A large earth embankment on a sweeping 100m radius curve filled the gully from 1876 to 1967 when it collapsed in a massive washout. The concrete intake shaft installed to collect and divert the stream remains standing in the gully.
  • Price's Tunnel - 1875-76. 98m long, this has a 1 in 15 grade on an "S" curve
  • Cross Creek Station - A registered Historic Site, this was once occupied by several cottages, a hall, school, library, locomotive depot and a turntable.
  • Following your trip you may like to visit Featherston's Fell Museum which houses the rebuilt H 199 - the only remaining Fell engine from the six that serviced the Remutaka Incline for 77 years.
  • Munitions Bend bridge - Greater Wellington and the Silverstream Railway Trust installed a footbridge with rails and sleepers running alongside it in 2003
  • Pakuratahi Tunnel - built in 1876 and 73m long, this was the first concrete block structure in New Zealand
  • Remutaka Tunnel ventilation shaft - 1955; 2.7m diameter and 116m deep
  • Pakuratahi Bridge - 1876; 28m long, this is a "Howe" truss bridge. It is the oldest truss bridge in New Zealand, and was rebuilt in 1910 after a fire. Greater Wellington restored the bridge in 2001.
  • Ladle Bend Creek Bridge - 1875; 70m long; this is New Zealand's second oldest simple beam (understrutted) bridge. It has stone abutments and a central pier. Greater Wellington restored this bridge in 2002.
  • Summit Yards - this was the site of 5 cottages, a signal box, water tank, ashpit, turntable (1943) and old locomotive remnants (not from "Fell" engines). Since 2000 there has been significant landscaping and planting work carried out in this area.
  • Summit Tunnel - dating from 1877, this is 584m long, and was resurfaced together with the rest of the Rail Trail in 1999. The 1 in 15 gradient used for the Fell engines started part way through this tunnel.

How to get here


Turn off SH2, 9km north of Upper Hutt. The carpark is 1km along a metal road. Or you can enter the Wairarapa end of the Rail Trail via Cross Creek Road (off Western Lake Road). Pedestrian and cycling access only beyond the carpark.


From the end of the Hutt River Trail at Te Marua you can continue on down the road past the Water Treatment plant and the Stuart MacCaskill Lakes to join onto a track that takes you to the start of the Remutaka Rail Trail via an underpass under SH2. See the map to your right for more details.

 From Maymorn Trailway Station you can follow the walking/cycling track that takes you through Tunnell Gully and you can join the Trail on Incline Road or further up the trail.

Getting back to your starting point

Valley Shuttles will transport groups of up to six people and their bikes from Kaitoke to Cross Creek or vice versa. Contact them via email or phone (04) 973-8150 or (027) 248 1745 for more information.

Bikes on Wairarapa trains

It is a 10km cycle from the Cross Creek carpark along flat roads to Featherston Station. Allow up to 45 minutes as there is often a headwind to overcome.

On weekdays the first three trains into Wellington and the last three out are the peak commuter services. Groups with bicycles should use the off-peak services if at all possible. Note that non-standard bikes such as tandems or bikes with trailers are more difficult to accommodate.

If you are travelling as a group, Tranz Metro can increase bicycle carrying capacity but you need to book in advance. Book with Tranz Metro by phoning 04 498 3103 and they will advise the fee (including any extra for bikes) dependant on the group size and needs and can advise the best times to travel. There is no additional fee for using the group booking service.

Walking and biking

A gently graded 18 km walk or mountain bike ride, the trail features restored railway bridges and historic tunnels. Expect an easy gradient with a gravel surface.

Walking times and distances:

  • Kaitoke gate - Summit 10km / 2.5 hours
  • Summit - Cross Creek 6km / 1.5 hours
  • Cross Creek - Carpark 2km / 30 mins

Cycling times:

  • Kaitoke gate - Summit 1 hour
  • Summit - Cross Creek Less than 30 minutes (dismount and walk your bike through "Siberia" gully)
  • Cross Creek - carpark 15-30 minutes (narrow track - watch out for walkers)

Remutaka Incline 

A Contractor will be spraying the Remutaka Incline during November 2018 weather permitting, week days only.

Please adhere to all warning signs.


South of Summit on the Wairarapa side, the Remutaka Rail Trail includes the famous "Incline" to Cross Creek, 10km from Featherston. This steeper (1 in 15 grade) section is managed by the Department of Conservation as part of the Remutaka Forest Park.

Saftey on the Trail

  • check the weather forecast before your trip (southerly weather conditions make the Remutaka Rail Trail extremely cold)
  • these are multi-use tracks so cyclists need to beware of and give way to walkers on the track
  • walkers also need to be aware of cyclists on the track and all users should keep to the left
  • wear strong lace-up footwear and carry warm and waterproof clothing and enough food and drink for your trip
  • carry sun protection
  • plan your route and tell someone your intentions
  • take a torch for the tunnels.