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25km, 3-4 hours, Grade 2-3 (Easy to Intermediate)
Suitable for: Regular cyclists with a good level of fitness. It's recommended that children should be over 12 years of age.
Things to be aware of: Take a torch for the tunnels. There is little or no cell phone coverage from Tunnel Gully to Cross Creek. Ensure you are carrying enough food as there are no shops on this part of the trail.
Threaded through the Remutaka Ranges, the second section offers travels into New Zealand’s bush-clad past. Beginning with Tunnel Gully, riders travel on a metalled forestry road through the historic Maymorn Tunnel and lush green bush to Kaitoke. A short public road then connects with the beginning of the ‘rail trail’ section.
Riders plunge back into the bush, following the old railway route established in 1878. The route follows the Pakuratahi River for much of its distance and crosses it using picturesque bridges. From Ladle Bend bridge the trail travels through plantation forestry to the Summit.
The trail then descends along the path of the historic Fell Locomotive Incline.
The gradient is typically 1 in 15, a modest descent by mountain bike, but a formidable challenge for a railway.
With three railway tunnels on the descent, including the 576m Summit Tunnel, some form of light is advisable.
Riders emerge from the ranges at Cross Creek, into the wide-open expanse of the Wairarapa Valley, the region’s agricultural breadbasket.