About the Remutaka Cycle Trail
The Remutaka (Rimutaka) Cycle Trail is truly one of New Zealand’s Great Rides. Green Jersey has the most experience and best options for riding this fantastic trail. Talk to us about our bespoke tour options, whether you are just hiring bikes or looking for luxury supported and guided tours.
Previously known as the “Rimutaka” Cycle Trail, this great ride was opened in 2011 by then Prime Minister, John Key as part of the New Zealand Cycle Trail project. Green Jersey was the only tour operator at that ceremony. The Trail is one of just 22 Great Rides recognised in New Zealand. Recently, as part of its proposed Treaty of Waitangi settlement package, one local Maori tribe Rangitane o Wairarapa asked that the name Rimutaka changed to Remutaka so that it finally makes sense.
Rimutaka means nothing in Maori, whereas Remutaka translates as “place to sit” and describes how a chief took a rest while he was pursuing his wayward wife across the ranges to Wairarapa.
The diversity of scenery is the most stirring feature of the Remutaka Cycle Trail. It begins in an urbanscape, leads along the Petone foreshore before following the Hutt River Trail for around 40km. Along the way you can visit historic Petone, museums, or take a swim in the Hutt River. A side trip up the Te Whiti Riser is definitely recommended for fit and capable riders, it adds a hill and unbeatable views to an otherwise flat ride.
Then it snakes across the Remutaka Mountain Range following the Remutaka Rail Trail. Filled with history, this section of the trail is a very gentle gradient with a nice hard packed surface. It is a very popular day-ride for locals who often picnic at the summit. You will wind through native bush and pass through up to 2 tunnels before you reach the summit. After riding through the 480m long summit tunnel there is a rapid decent to Cross Creek and the Wairarapa valley floor. This rail track is historically significant as it used the unusual “Fell” system. Trail interpretation is a treat for rail enthusiasts.
The next 30km is on quiet country roads following the shores of Wairarapa Moana (Lake Wairarapa). This is bucolic magic. Farms use this road for stockmovements, some of the farmers are seventh generation guardians of the land! Others are (a little bit famous) newcomers.
Eventually you make it to the Wild South Coast. From Ocean Beach to Orongorongo Station is an exposed landscape scarred by wild seas, furious winds and geological MEGA events. Historically it is a treasure trove, Karaka Groves indicate early Maori settlements, baches more recent European activity. At Turakirae Seal Colony, the Bull seal gather between mating. There is nothing between here and Antarctica, although on a good day you are afforded excellent views of the South Island.
You must be prepared to get off your bike and push through some section of the wild coast as it is not all ridable, but is certainly a great adventure. Finishing at Orongorongo there is not much to great you (except us of course) make sure you are prepared with food, water and appropriate clothing.
Officially the Remutaka Cycle Trail starts at Petone Station. You will find the Green Jersey depot about 50metres along Jackson Street opposite Kathmandhu. But we can assist you starting anywhere. Popular starting point for a dayride is Maymourn Station in Te Marua, or a few kilometres along at Kaitoke.
How long does it take?
Day rides – We suggest allowing 6 hours for a typical day riding experience on the Cycle Trail.
Whole trail – The trail can be completed in 1-3 days on either our two-day tuffy or three day adventures. But we really recommend adding in another day or two to discover other delights in Wairarapa.
Where can we stay?
Accommodation on the trail is quite limited and books well in advance. Talk to us about the best accommodation options along the trail, or book a supported itinerary and we sort it all out for you. Generally we use hotel and homestay accommodation that can be described as 3-4 star.
What else can we see along the way?
We recommend taking some side trips, Featherston is an up and coming tow, Martinborough is full of premium Pinot Noir producers and high quality restaurants, for Lord of the Rings fans you can visit a number of filming locations. Patuna Chasm and the Cape Palliser, Ngawi Fishing Village and Lake Ferry are spectacular – ask us how with our bespoke itineraries.
Where does the cycle trail finish?
The Remutaka Cycle Trail officially finishes at Orongorongo Station, this is a remote spot on the Wainuiomata Coast. It is possible to ride back around to Petone passing Pencarrow, through Eastbourne and around the Bays. Although not an official part of the trail it is generally able to be ridden adding around 20km to the journey.
What if we want to ride further?
Talk to us about the ride through to Petone or about bespoke tours – we would love to help you explore our world!
Much of the Remutaka Cycle Trail is remote and exposed to extremes of weather Careful planning is required and independant riders should expect to be self sufficient during the ride. Once off the Hutt River Trail section of the ride there is little easy access to shops and accommodation may be at a premium. The South Coast is rough and we recommend travelling light. It is highly recommended to choose a supported tour. We take care of you safety, bag transfer, accommodation and provisions.