Last Updated: 11th Mar 2024


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Fensham Reserve Loop

Carterton, Wellington

Submitted by Seanoa Isaac

Last Updated: 11th Mar 2024


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 5 ?

Gnarl Factor: 27 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, small hills only

Native bush

Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +9.2%

Average Downhill Gradient: -9.5%


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Estimated Times to Run







A great short training loop in a bush setting with just enough bumps to keep it interesting. Choose your direction, both ways are pretty much the same. There are a handful of in-between tracks short cutting between the main loop.
If you get lost in here try your hand at golf...

This 48 hectare reserve contains a remnant kahikatea swamp forest, as well as important wetlands that are home to our nationally vulnerable mudfish. Kanuka, matai, rimu black beech, titoki and kowhai thrive in this alluvial plains and hill slopes that form much of the reserve.

The reserve's forest is in great condition, and it has some magnificent podocarps believed to be between 400 and 700 years old. Rising above the primary forest is a further 19 hectares of regenerating forest and shrubland. The reserve also has 3 hectares of wetland, which is being restored to its natural state, and is closed for protection.

Many of the plants, especially in the primary forest, are clearly labelled.
*Photos courtesy of Destination Wairarapa

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

small road side carparks are located at the entrances. No public transport

6 km

8 minutes





Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, Cellphone


There are a few steps and boardwalks which although wire meshed can still become very slick when wet or in early morning dew. The reserve is very sheltered even in strong winds, you will definitely hear the wind but you are mostly well protected with the dense bush.

Very narrow track, take care and give way to walkers and there are often families on day walks.
People are often seen with dogs but the reserve is officially off limits with poison bait stations year round.
Boardwalks and steps can be slippery.
Advise not to wear a brimmed hat as there are often low hanging branches/ windfall so eyes up.
For a late afternoon/ evening run I suggest taking a headlamp or torch to be safe as the bush is mostly very dense you will lose light quickly. If locals see a vehicle in the carpark after dark they often head up to check no one is stranded in the dark...

Paua World
54 Kent Street Carterton
good coffee

Cafe Mirabelle
54 Kent Street Carterton
Very high quality food with french influence and fantastic coffee

Claireville Bakery
3340 SH2 Clareville, Carterton
Award winning bakery. dangerously tasty crownuts mmm...

Trail Legend

Dianne Bailey

Dianne Bailey

has completed Fensham Reserve Loop 80 times in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Really fantastic place to be, beautiful Bush and great bird life, nice bit of elevation going over and back on the wee hill but beware of the footing, need to stay alert on the very rooty ground, a few trees easy to bang into and often some tataramoa (bush lawyer) at head height! Short and sharp

Andre Van Barneveld

January 25, 2021

This trail is a beautiful hidden gem in the Wairarapa countryside. Accessible from Carterton or Masterton, it feels like you immediately step into a big forest. The care and attention that has gone into the trails is amazing and the birds appreciate it too. It packs a good punch too with the hills, they are only small but big enough to get the heart rate up!

Anna Scheirlinck

May 3, 2020

This is just such a stunning bush reserve. Alive with birds, felt like staying longer!

Tony Sharpe

August 14, 2019

I just love this trail. It's very short but it has everything you need, perfect if you don't have much time. The track is great, head trail, steps and also boardwalks, and a few seats to take a rest and just take it in. The bush is so varied, Justin stunning but the birdlife was stunning and so loud!! Take your time here, it's worth it.

Sharon Sharpe

April 5, 2019

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