Maitai Cave TrackBeginner - Intermediate
Submitted by Anne-Louise Robertson
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Front country - easily accessible
Out and Back
Undulating, small hills only
Beginner - Intermediate
Some of the trails in this area were closed when we did this in December 2019. At the time of writing all trails are closed due to fire risk. There are a couple of river crossings which would be impassable after heavy rain.
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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.
Features of interest
Starts at a dam. Maitai Cave is apparently the only place in New Zealand where you can find the very rare ngataana snail.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 10%
Technical Single Track: 40%
Easy Single Track: 40%
Gravel Road: 10%
The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each
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The run to Maitai Cave begins at Maitai Dam, which is 11 km up Maitai Valley from central Nelson.
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.
Once in the forest over the river, the trail is quite overgrown and so you need to keep an eye out for the markings.
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.
Erosion on some path areas along the river
Post run indulgence
East Street Eats
Awesome Vegan food and very cool vibe
The Boat Shed Cafe
Excellent cheese scones and great coffee
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See other runs nearby:
Cable Bay - Glenduan
Hunters Hut Mission
Stu's Monaco Marathon
Hackett to Brook St via Rocks
Hackett - Rocks
Brook - Fringed Hill - 3rd House return
Dew Lakes Climb
Dun Mountain Loop
The Brook Fenceline
Flights and Sights
Sharlands-Central Road Loop
Fringed Hill Slugger
Hidden Valleys of Waimārama