Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done

Maitai Cave Track

Nelson, Nelson

Submitted by Anne-Louise Robertson

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

Save Trail Save

I've done it Done

Grunt Factor: 16

Gnarl Factor: 49

11.0km

270m

270m

400m

  

  

  

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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Undulating, small hills only

Native bush

Riverside

Run Makeup

10%
40%
40%
10%

Gravel Road

Easy Single Track

Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +7.9%

Average Downhill Gradient: -7.9%

Trailhead

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Estimated Times to Run

2:00

Slow

1:30

Moderate

1:00

Fast

Starting at the Maitai Dam, this trail takes you for 3kms or so along a really runnable, undulating trail - some on single track but a little bit on gravel road. Then you hit a river crossing. This would be impassable during or immediately after heavy rain!

The trail from here on in is very gnarly, lots of tree roots, narrow, greasy and at some points the stream may flow along it. The path climbs following the river through beautiful woodland. After a couple of kms (less than the signs indicated) we arrived at Maitai Cave. You can explore the cave but will need a torch and be reasonably confident underground. There is a steep climb down over greasy, muddy boulders - you can use the rope that is belayed around the rock that wedged across the entrance but I would not rely on it! You land in an ankle-deep stream at the bottom which emerges from a small opening directly ahead. It's possible to get in to where the stream emerges and crawl into a short passage that only goes a few metres. To the right, there is a climb over more boulders to quite a high aven.

Return to the car park via the same route.

Starts at a dam. Maitai Cave is apparently the only place in New Zealand where you can find the very rare ngataana snail

You can use the first car park just after the Maungatapu Track turnoff, or the second car park a few hundred metres further, on the other side of the dam spillway (note that the gate is closed to the latter car park at 5 pm). Maitai Cave Track forks off Dun Mountain Trail, which is accessed via the pedestrian bridge between the two car parks.

13 km

26 minutes

Unknown

No

Moderate.

Once in the forest over the river, the trail is quite overgrown and so you need to keep an eye out for the markings.

Patchy.

Waterproof leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries.

Plenty of access to river water but not drinking water

Extremely muddy after rain.
Some parts could be impassable.

River crossing
Roots
Erosion on some path areas along the river

East Street Eats
Nelson
https://m.facebook.com/Eaststeats/?__nodl&ref=external%3Awww.google.com&_rdr
Awesome Vegan food and very cool vibe

The Boat Shed Cafe
Nelson
https://www.boatshedcafe.co.nz/
Excellent cheese scones and great coffee

Trail Legend

HB

Holly Barclay

has completed Maitai Cave Track once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Excellent wee track with some runnable sections on coppermine, stream crossings, technical rooty climb and interesting looking cave at the end. Didnt end up going down past the entrance of the cave as it was rainy, muddy and slippery... but will come back to explore when a bit less wet :)

Ian Gilmour

January 9, 2021

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