Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done

Papatahi Crossing

Featherston, Wellington

Submitted by Hamish Laing

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Intermediate - Experienced

Save Trail Save

I've done it Done

Open

Grunt Factor: 52 ?

Gnarl Factor: 55 ?

23.3km

1365m

1265m

914m

  

  

  

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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote

Point to Point (one way)

Very hilly

Native bush

Run Makeup

5%
25%
25%
45%

Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +12.1%

Average Downhill Gradient: -10.9%

Trailhead

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Estimated Times to Run

6:00

Slow

4:00

Moderate

2:45

Fast

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.

This trail includes the peak Papatahi.

Grassy area on side of the road

31 km

27 minutes

Unknown

No

Hard.

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.

Patchy.

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.

You and Papatahi Crossing

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Trail Reviews

Awesome varied rugged terrain. For a great review of the track and challenges, see here: https://wtmc.org.nz/trip-report/papatahi-crossing-2/

This is west to east, and from trampers perspective, but having just run it October 2020, the descriptions are accurate. Easy to lose ‘trail’ coming down to Wharepapa Hut. Keep looking for orange triangles!

Brilliant route, wild and rugged. Great to do as a key swap, with parties going on either direction. We took 7 hrs, not push in g. Faster pair did 5:30 hr and they don’t muck around. Killian might do 2:45 but not sure any one else could 😄

Daniel Pringle

October 4, 2020

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