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Papatahi Crossing, Wellington

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Papatahi CrossingIntermediate - Experienced

Submitted by Hamish Laing

Info Info
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Trail Information







Back country - remote

Point to Point (one way)

Very hilly

Native bush

Intermediate - Experienced

6:00 (Slow)
4:00 (Moderate)
2:45 (Fast)



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A nice adventurous route close to Wellington along some of the lesser traveled tracks in the region. No tops travel required so less committing than some of the Tararua routes. The only navigational challenge is finding the track after reaching Wharepapa Hut (if travelling East-West). Head upstream and keep an eye out on river right (left looking upstream) for ribbons or obvious signs of human traffic.

Once down in the Orongorongo Valley either follow the river downstream or take the big bend track if the river level is above your comfort level as multiple crossings are required. Exit the valley via the Catchpool Stream track at the bridge/toilets area (about 18.6km from start). Take this well marked track back to the carpark. Best done with a key swap if another group wants to go the reverse direction.

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Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 0%

Technical Single Track: 45%

Moderate Single Track: 25%

Easy Single Track: 25%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 5%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Head south on Western Lake Road from Featherston

    Grassy area on side of the road

    31 km

    27 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    After reaching Wharepapa Hut (if travelling East-West). Head upstream and keep an eye out on river right (left looking upstream) for ribbons or obvious signs of human traffic. If you reach the fork in the river you've gone too far. Track heads almost due West from the stream. If heading down the river in the Orongorongo valley don't miss the turn off to the carpark at Catchpool Stream. Keep an eye to river right and to see the distinctive bridge marking the start of the track.


    Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, 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 bag, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries.

    Lots of water around depending on your appetite, but Wharepapa hut is your safest bet

    The Orongorongo river can flood after heavy rain along with Wharepapa river and many other creeks/side streams. Pay attention to the forecast and remember the rivers can rise fast but also fall fast so if its high wait it out.

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See other runs nearby:

Tauherenikau Gorge Track

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