The Orongorongo Track: Rimutaka Forest Park: Wellington Day Walks

Stunning bush scenery is in abundance on this beautiful trail. Surrounded by native trees and plants this incredible walk is just 45 minutes from Wellington City. 

The Orongorongo Track is Wellington’s great one day walk. DOC (The Department of Conservation) has done a great job building and maintaining this track. In hiking terms this track is described as a well-benched and gravelled track, which means it is like a gravel path that is easy to follow. This is the same as the Routeburn and other great walking tracks of New Zealand. In comparison the tracks off the Orongorongo Track are tramping tracks, which can be muddy and rooty in places and a little more challenging.

This 10 kilometre walk is easy; suitable for walkers of most abilities and ideal for those that have young children. 

For anyone wanting their first taste of tramping this is the perfect walk to start with. There are also shorter walks in the Catchpool Valley if you want something a bit easier; the 5 Mile Loop Track incorporates part of the Orongorongo Track and a good one to start with if 10 kilometres is a little too far. 

Route Description

Catchpool Carpark to the Orongorongo River return 2 to 4 hours, 10.5 kilometres

Starting and finishing at the Catchpool carpark this walk is very easy to follow, no tramping experience is required. There are a number of track junctions along the way, which lead to other areas of the park. Stay on the main track and follow the signs, its well sign posted. As with all my walks, I recommend carrying a map.

The track undulates as it follows the Catchpool Stream up the valley. This scenic trail has a lovely mixture of beech and podocarp forest, with native plants and ferns. It’s best described as a nature trail. The Rimutaka Forest Park Trust has erected information placards along the way that explain the different types of trees, native plants and bird-life.

Just beyond the Browns Track junction the track leaves the Catchpool Stream and Valley. There’s a gentle rise over a saddle that links to the Orongorongo Valley, the track then descends to Orongorongo River. The riverbed is a great place for a picnic. Cross the arched bridge at the bottom of the track, taking the track to the right which has some stairs leading down to the river and toilets to the left.

Turere Bridge, Orongorongo Track, Rimutaka Forest Park, Wellington Day Walks
Turere Bridge

Getting There

From Wellington city drive to Wainuiomata, then head south along the Coast Road for 10 kilometres. The Rimutaka Forest Park and Catchpool Valley entrance is to the left. If you’re not familiar with the area look at the map below. Click on the map and drag until you see the roads, use the + or – button if needed.

There are camping sites here. For more information on facilities and camping fees, check-out Catchpool Valley Campsite.

For those that wish to extend their walk to an overnight trip, there are 6 DOC huts in the Orongorongo Valley. These are locked and only available by booking. They have great facilities including; gas cooking, crockery, pots and cooking utensils. Some of the huts have hot showers and flushing toilets. Click here for more information. 

For other accommodation needs in the Wellington region, search or Trivago.

What to Take

I suggest taking some clothing essentials, food and drink. Drink bottles can be refill from the Orongorongo River.

    • Food and drink
    • Waterproof raincoat
    • Sturdy footwear
    • Warm clothing: thermals and fleece
    • Hat and gloves
    • Sunscreen and sunglasses
    • First Aid Kit
    • Map
    • Camera

Check my post on what to take hiking, with helpful links to apparel and equipment.


The Orongorongo Track, Rimutaka Forest Park, Wellington Day Walks
The Orongorongo Track
The Orongorongo River, Rimutaka Forest Park, Wellington Day Walks
The Orongorongo River and Valley
The Orongorongo Track, Rimutaka Forest Park, Wellington Day Walks
The Orongorongo Track

To print the above map, click on at the top of the map. The printing and PDF option at the bottom of this page will print or download the post except the map. Once you’ve clicked on mapometer, the link will take you to the printing or export option. If mapometer asks for your location decline, otherwise it will take you to your location and not the above map. This map gives great information for getting to the start of the track, however it’s only a guide of the route, for more detail on the track click on the topomap below and this can also be printed.

View Larger Topographic Map

Walking Times 

Expect some variation in times depending on conditions and personal fitness levels. I’ve graded this an easy walk. The track is well defined and easy to follow, the stream crossings are bridged and the duration of this walk is less than 6 hours. Whereas, a hard walk is one that is more than 6 hours, will have long steep climbs, have river crossings and requires good navigational skills.

Have fun and enjoy your walk ?

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10 thoughts on “The Orongorongo Track: Rimutaka Forest Park: Wellington Day Walks

    1. Hi Sarah
      Thanks for your message. Its a very easy track to walk, kids would love it. How old are your children? If you think they could walk 10K’s they will be fine. There’s some shorter walks in the Catchpool area. The 5 mile loop track could be another option for you.


    2. I took my 2 year old. He walked all the way to Raukawa Hut on his own. Next day he only walked 1/4 way back though and shoulder ride the rest of the way.

      1. Hey Mike
        Wow that’s amazing! The Orongorongo Track is definitely a great family walk. I’ve never heard of a 2 year old walking that far…it speaks volumes on how achieveable this walk is for all ages. Thanks for sharing 🙂


  1. Murray,
    I love a good hike. Too bad I do not live any where near this location. I find that your information on the Orongorongo track to have a lot of detail that would help the hiker that is not familiar with this trail. The topographical detail will help with those that cannot climb without some kind of aid. This make me want to get out today and take a hike at the local trail.

  2. great place this really looks fun, I really want to visit this place at least once in my life time

  3. Hello,

    Its beautiful. I like the photos you added, it brings the track to life. I am not able to walk all that much so my trips would probably be very limited if I were to go there. Still, a very nice picture you painted and If I ever get out that way, I will definitely head out that way. Thank you.

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