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Arcus Dam Track, Wellington

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Arcus Dam TrackBeginner

Submitted by Mike Tennent

Info Info
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Trail Information







Back country - remote

Out and Back

Undulating, some big hills

Native bush
Plantation/exotic forest


1:10 (Slow)
0:50 (Moderate)
0:35 (Fast)



April 2021: current access is via a temporary alternative route - see here for details. Please email us with any updates that you become aware of.

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April 2021: current access is via a temporary alternative route - see here for details. 

This is an easy one (for the most part)... just follow the large well-formed track. You climb near on 100m in the first 500m of trail, but then it levels off. There are several small (tiny really) stream crossings, but nothing to get you too wet. After about 600m you will come to some steps on the right of the trail. The sign on the bottom step says "Emergency Access Route" - ignore this! Instead, right opposite the steps is another trail going downhill to the "Remote Hut Site". Take this!

It is a largely roped trail that takes you down a couple of hundred metres of gnarly track to an old hut site with a loo and a bit of a bivvy. After checking out the hut turn around and head back up to the main trai. Turn left and carry on to the Dam/Waterfall.

Once you have taken a few pics, retrace your steps (no need to go down to the hut again if you did it on the way up though!)

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Features of interest

Lots of small waterfalls, impressive after a couple of days of rain. Plus a large waterfall caused by the Dam which is very cool.

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 0%

Technical Single Track: 15%

Moderate Single Track: 0%

Easy Single Track: 85%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 0%

Gravel Road: 0%

Sealed Road: 0%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    If you are heading north from Wellington, just before crossing the big river bridge that leads into Otaki... take a right turn into Otaki Gorge Road, obviously if heading South go just over the bridge and take a left... follow this road for 14km... there are gravel sections, a shallow ford (even shallow after several days rain) and it gets narrow in places, so don't speed.

    There is a nice wee carpark that would hold about 8 to 10 cars at a push.

    16 km

    21 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Just be a little careful down to and past the old Hut site... keep the orange triangles in sight.


    Waterproof leggings, 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, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries.

    Lots of side streamlets for water

    I was there after 2 to 3 days to rain, the track was a bit slushy but very runnable

    A couple of the slips you need to be careful and the trail down to and up from the Hut Site requires care.

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