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Visitor Centre


Open daily
from 11am-
November to
March. Open
only 11am-
4pm April to



Contact Park


Visitor centre:
(04)564 8551
enquiries to
Dept. of

Rimutaka Forest Park


RIMUTAKA FOREST PARKshop and info centre

Rimutaka Forest Park is a beautiful park cared for jointly by the Department of Conservation and the Rimutaka Forest Park Trust. It has plenty of walking tracks, swimming holes, camping grounds, bush cabins to rent, barbecues, hunting areas, recreation areas, and much more. The most popular entrance, via Catchpool Valley, is 15-20 minutes drive (12 km) down the Coast Road. It makes for a nice weekend drive, yet is not too far away to be remote.

(Link to Rimutaka Forest Park Trust web site

Kiwi are soon to be reintroduced to the park, thanks to the hard work of members of the Rimutaka Forest Park Trust in trapping the predators that have previously made kiwi locally extinct, and to the Bank of New Zealand Recovery fund. To ensure the ongoing safety of the kiwi, the Department of Conservation has developed a dog control strategy. Dogs in the park must be on a leash at all times.


Dogs are not permitted in the Turere Valley.

Link to DOC web site Rimutaka Forest Park dog management strategy - creating a safe environment for North Island brown kiwi in the Turere Stream catchment (PDF 429K)

See Events for details of kiwi release.

The Catchpool Valley is undergoing a transformation as pine trees planted by the former New Zealand Forest Service are removed to enable the return of native forest.

At the visitor centre
(currently closed) close to the entrance you’ll find information, displays, toilets, a small shop and a 24-hour emergency telephone. The gates close at dusk and reopen at 8 am. Remember, there is no cell phone or radio communication in the Catchpool and Orongorongo valleys.

On these next few pages you will find: track details, shop open times, some photos and hopefully enough reasons to go take a look yourself!

As you drive along Catchpool Road you’ll notice picnic areas complete with barbecues and picnic tables, in open areas and secluded spots. A picnic site can be reserved for a group for a special occasion, using the barbecues provided or a liquid or gas operated stove. Portable generators are not allowed in the park.
The campground is equipped with toilets, showers and gas barbecues. Charges are: $8 a night, youth (5-15 years) $4 a night, under 5 free. Camping is restricted to the campground.

Bush cabins in the Orongorongo Valley can be booked through the Catchpool Visitor Centre.

(Link to DOC web site Bush cabins for hire)

Walks in the Catchpool Valley are suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Most walking tracks begin at the road end.

Short walks


Tawa Grove Easy  30 min round trip

A bush trail specially designed for disabled or elderly people. The walk begins near the visitor centre.

Nga Taonga Trail

30 mintues to Catchpool Road

This track begins just after the bridge over Catchpool Stream. It’s of pretty easy grade and ends at the Catchpool Valley Road (the road inside the park). Little information stands describe the plant life of the forest. It’s about a 5 minute walk back to the carpark from the end.

Nature Trail Easy–moderate 20 min one way

This is an easy walking alternative to the road from the Nga Taonga Trail towards the visitor centre.

Longer walks


Five Mile Loop Track Easy 1 hr 40 minute round trip

This starts from the car park at the top of Catchpool Valley Road. Cross the footbridge to the left of the car park. The track is well signposted.

Clay Ridge Track 2 ½ hours to Mt McKerrow

From Clay Forks, this track ascends Clay Ridge to the east of Graces Stream to the summit of Mt McKerrow ( 706m). A round trip back to Catchpool carpark is possible by returning via the McKerrow track and Orongorongo Tracks, total time 5 hours.

Orongorongo Track Easy 4 hours return

One of the most popular walks in New Zealand, this well developed track passes through different types of bush to the Orongorongo Valley and safe swimming holes. The track begins just after the caravan in the picture.

Butcher and Cattle Ridge Track Around 3.5 hours

Begins about 10 minutes along the Orongorongo Track and moderate to hard. A stiff climb leads you to awesome views of the Hutt and Wellington. The photo to your right………etc

For your safety

     1. Always take warm, waterproof clothing, food and drink, even on short walks. Wear stout shoes or walking boots on tramping tracks.
     2. If the ford across the Catchpool Valley Road is flooded, do not attempt to drive through it. The Nga Taonga Trail provides alternative foot access if the ford is impassable.
     3. Check the weather forecast – the weather in the park can change rapidly. The Orongorongo River rises quickly and can take several days to drop to a level that is safe to cross.
     4. Before going into the Orongorongo valley, advise someone where you are going, when you are returning, and what they should do if you fail to meet your deadline. Also tell them who to contact (employer etc) if you get delayed in a hut by bad weather and or flooded river.
     5. Groups on overnight trips should always include experienced trampers.

For the safety of others and our wildlife

     1. Dogs must be kept on a leash in the Catchpool Valley and on park tracks.
     2. Dogs are not permitted in the Landcare Research area in the Orongorongo Valley.
     3. Fires may not be lit in Catchpool Valley. Use the gas barbecues provided.
     4. Vehicle access to the Orongorongo Valley is by permit only.
     5. Do not carry loaded firearms in Catchpool Valley.
     6. Shooting is prohibited in Catchpool Valley and the Orongorongo River bed.

(Link to DOC web site Hunting in Wellington Forest Parks)

Disorderly behaviour will result in eviction.
For more information or to hire a cabin or reserve a picnic site, contact:
Catchpool Visitors Centre
Private Bag 43-902
Ph +64 4 564 8551


Open hours: 11am - 4pm

Dec–Feb inclusive



Fri, Sat, Sun, public holidays.

Apr–Oct inclusive

Sat, Sun, public holidays.


Fri, Sat, Sun, public holidays.


For general information and hunting permits:
Conservation Information Centre
P.O. Box 5086
Ph +64 4 472 7356


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