Last Updated: 24th Nov 2023


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Holdsworth Lodge to Totara Flats Hut and return

Last Updated: 24th Nov 2023


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Grunt Factor: 44

Gnarl Factor: 70








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Very hilly

Dog Friendly

Native bush


Run Makeup


Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +12.3%

Average Downhill Gradient: -12.1%


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Estimated Times to Run

Not suitable






From Holdsworth Lodge, cross the bridge and continue up the track toward Donnelly Flat. Turn left at the signpost and climb the ‘Gentle Annie’ track towards Mountain House shelter. This well-graded track follows the ridge to the Totara Creek turnoff. Follow the track along the ridge to a high point, 575 m, and continue along the track, heading down towards Totara Creek.

Follow the creek on the left to the swing bridge crossing, then continue down the stream on the right. At the Waiohine River, cross the bridge and follow the signs to Totara Flats Hut, which has mattresses, wardens’ quarters and toilets. Retrace your steps for the return.

Daily rail and regular bus services operate between Wellington and Masterton. Taxis, or prebooked buses for large parties, can be hired for travel between Masterton and Holdsworth. Plenty of public parking and camp sites at Holdsworth

21 km

23 minutes




Follow the orange DOC triangles


Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Short-sleeved thermal top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Gaiters.

Take your own water

Tararua Forest Park has severe weather conditions at times. Always carry enough clothing and rainwear for cold conditions. Check weather forecasts before departing and allow ample food for your journey. Whilst the major rivers on this route are bridged, some side streams are not. These can rise very rapidly in heavy rain. Do not attempt to cross flooded streams. Be prepared to wait if conditions become dangerous.

Watermill Bakery
Blakes Road where Norfolk Road and Holdsworth Road meet
no website
1. If you’re hungry and it’s Friday your first stop should be Bolly’s or Norfolk Road Pizza, officially known as the Watermill Bakery. You know somewhere is good if they don’t advertise, have no website, are located at the end of a gravel road, and are full every Friday. You have to ring them on a landline (+64 06 370 1129) to order the number of bases you will want for the evening and tell them what time you will be coming. From 5pm onward you head out to Blake’s Road at the base of the Tararua Ranges where you will find a log cabin centred around a pizza oven. They only take cash and they don’t sell drinks so you will need to take your own or help yourself to a glass of water from the tap. Share large tables, a beer and a chat. The pizza is delicious and the surroundings are so laid back they’re horizontal, this is the perfect setting for a super chilled evening after a great tramp.

Clarevile Bakery
3340 State Highway 2 Clareville Carterton 5713
Clareville Bakery is home of New Zealand's best pie for 2014, and some of the best artisan bread and European-style pastries you can buy. All made on-site from natural ingredients. Treat yourself to a cronut or a bite-sized 'Mikecronut' (made by baker Mike) - they're irresistible!

Trail Legend


Elspeth Knewstubb

has completed Holdsworth Lodge to Totara Flats Hut and return once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

We did a slight varient- we turned right towards atiwhakatu and then went up river ridge track and along pig flats to the turn off which made it a loop rather then a true out and back.
The climb back up from Totara flats will keep ya honest!

Bradley Houghton

January 3, 2022

Beautiful but tough run, has a bit of everything, easy trail at the Holdsworth end, rooty, technical steep section down to the river and spectacular single trail along the river at the Totara Flats end.
The swing bridge just before Totara Flats is long and moves a lot in wind so be prepared if you struggle with that

Andre Van Barneveld

March 1, 2021

Almost made the full out and back - couple of kms short due to issues getting my butt across the swing bridge (sometimes the fear is just too real).

Beautiful place to run. Stunning views, bird song and lots of climbing. This will make a great final slog for those doing Tararua Mountain Race this year (2021)

Katrina Gurnick

January 22, 2021

Anything in the Tararuas is great. this one is a good taster for wilder climes beyond.

Tony Sharpe

March 4, 2020

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