Submitted by Rita Onosa
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At the end of Mt Holdsworth Road the entrance to the Tararua national park has a large carpark with toilets, picnic areas, a hut and nearby caretakers residence. From here there is a short run to the river, a sturdy wooden bridge, and then turn right and follow the signs for "Powell Hut". About 1.5 km from the car park the Powell Hut and lookout is signposted (7 km.) Head off left up this track.
The route from here up to Mountain Shelter is known as "Gentle Annie",nothing gentle about It! A few minutes up this track there is a small lookout signposted on the left - on a clear day you can get a good view of Mt Holdsworth and Powell Hut (these clear days do not occur very often!). As the climb levels out at around 700 m there is a signpost on the left to an alternative popular tramping track to Totara Flats hut. The track is reasonably flat along the ridge to Mountain Shelter, but being flat it can be boggy in places after wet weather. From Mountain Shelter, Powell Hut is less than 2 km away. The track is well formed in most places, but the ascent is from about 730 metres to over 1200 metres. There are a couple of places where it is necessary to clamber up rocks with careful hand and foot placement. It is in bush most of the way and you should be fine even in bad weather.
Powell Hut is a large and well serviced hut sleeping about 20. There are toilets, cooking facilities, water, and a great view from the balcony over the Wairarapa on a fine day. Enjoy the views, take the compulsory selfie and head back down the way you came! Some awesome downhill running so pick up the speed but watch your feet as the terrain is rather technical and can get slippery after lots of rain.
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Features of interest
Beautiful beech forest along the way. Rocky lookout along the Gentle Annie track offers panoramic views of Mount Holdsworth and the upper Atiwhakatu Valley.
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 30%
Moderate Single Track: 60%
Gravel Road: 10%
Start at Holdsworth Road end car park.
Turn off State Highway 2 on to Norfolk Road, 2 km south of Masterton. This leads to Mount Holdsworth Road. Holdsworth is 15 km from State Highway 2.
Stick to the well marked trail and follow the track signs
Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Map.
There is water at the hut.
Technical terrain, can get really muddy after a lot of rain. It can be very windy up by the hut but unless you heading over to Mount Holdsworth summit you should be all goods resting at the hut.
Post run indulgence
Main St Carterton
Delicious french cuisine, beautiful pastries and great coffee.
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