I’ve been meaning to write this one up for ages and today the weather is rubbish, so here ’tis. It’s going to get more hits than my other posts because it has the word tunnel in it, and I get more traffic out of that one word than just about any other word (for my Cycling in Wellington’s Tunnels post). Something Freudian about tunnels methinks. Imagine how many hits I’d get with the words “Lesbian Spank Infrerno” somewhere surreptitiously hidden away in this post. No I’m not going to do that.
The Rimutaka Rail Trail Goes through the Pakuratahi Forest and links the Hutt Valley with the southern Wairarapa or in particular it goes from Kaitoke or Maymorn (depending on where you start) on the Hutt side to Cross Creek, a few kilometres south of Featherston on the Wairarapa side. Here’s a pdf map of the Pakuratahi Forest (administered by the Greater Wellington Regional Council).
The Rimutaka Rail Trail is the natural extension of the Hutt River Trail and from Cross Creek there are three natural routes, one is down the western side of Lake Wairarapa (on a reasonably quiet Western Lake Road with places to camp near the lakeshore) and eventually on to back around Baring and Pencarrow Heads, another is northwards through the Wairarapa to Masterton and beyond, and the other is out towards Martinborough. Somehow if there was some clever route finding from Cross Creek through the Lake Domain Reserve that’d make a great bike trail.
These photos are from a walk I did from the Cross Creek carpark up to Summit, and a bike ride from Maymorn, through the Maymorn tunnel and the forest roads, over to Cross Creek and then back to the SH2 (a fast downhill), and back to Maymorn. The bike ride gets in an extra tunnel, adding one to the four on the rail trail proper. This adds a considerable amount of effort required to do the ride (I distinctly remember saying out loud, “There’s no oomph left in this oompa-loompa” on the way back). The rail trail proper from the Kaitoke Loop Road to the old town of Cross Creek is quite an easy and pleasant ride. From the old village of Cross Creek to the Cross Creek Carpark is some single track, but it’s not too difficult. The rail trail itself is flat. wide and not too steep (at most 1 in 12). The old fell railway used to get over the hill, so you can probably too.
There is a sixth tunnel Cruickshanks Tunnel that you can’t bike through, but can apparently find on foot.
Cross Creek (one improvement here would be to continue the rail trail on across the private land that was once the railway line, instead of the single track):
I love this photo I took at Summit. Nearby there was this little smart-arse blue guy with glasses about three apples tall, and I kicked him from Summit into Lake Wairarapa.
A railway bridge near the Siberia Tunnel means a quick off ya bike descent across a creek:
And the rest of the photos are just gratuitous tunnel photos: I can’t remember which is which of the 5 of them, and they look different depending on which end you’re looking at. Summit Tunnel at 584 metres long is the funnest to ride through. Walking through without a torch is also fun.