Last Updated: 8th Mar 2024


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Mt Hector (From Otaki Forks)

Otaki, Wellington

Submitted by Tim Carpenter

Last Updated: 8th Mar 2024


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 73 ?

Gnarl Factor: 79 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote

Out and Back


Native bush

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +16.4%

Average Downhill Gradient: -16.4%


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Estimated Times to Run







From carpark head straight over the large swing bridge, marked FIeld Hut. Follow in the orange triangles. At the first Y junction, there is a sign for Waitewaewae Hut/Otaki River - stay on the track that says Field Hut, same at the 2nd junction. Initial part of the trail is moderately steep but easy to run as is level benched trail. Once you hit the forest, it becomes muddy and soft, with roots and uneven parts to climb. There is a flat patch shortly before Field hut.

From Field hut continue up the hill, and you will clear the trees quickly. The trail is well marked, and is now rocky/stony under foot with varying degrees of climbing. You will reach Table Top with sign post to Penn Creek Hut, continue onto Kime Hut. The next sign post will be at Mangahuka hut turn off (Bridge Peak), but continue straight on to Kime Hut . The track is easy to wander off along here, but it is well signposted/poled to continue in the right direction (and very reflective at night).

From Kime hut, the trail continues around the next ridge, before dropping down over a saddle and beginning the last climb toward Mt Hector. On a clear day you are rewarded wtih views toward Wellington, Wairarapa and Horowhenua from the Top of Hector. There are numerous route options from here, or return to Otaki Forks. My photos are from my snow trip, makes for a slow day out with high levels of snow!

NOTE: This is the Tararua's - your Bluebird day can turn to clag with no visibility very quickly, making it easy to get lost. Always carry full safety gear in case of wrong turn, falling off a ridge, change in weather, hurting yourself. Use the Intentions books in the huts to update on progress. Always have a plan of where you are going and make sure that people know your route and when you are due out.

This trail includes the peaks Mount Hector and Field Peak.

You will run past Field Hut, Kime Hut and summit at the Mt Hector Cross

Plenty of parking, no public transport.

18 km

23 minutes




On a good day, navigation is easy.
On a bad day it can be whiteout conditions with 80km/hr (or higher but presume you won't be out in higher wind) making a compass ESSENTIAL as the trip from Kime to Field can send you off the wrong ridge and into the South Main Range when you have no visibility.
Carry GPS and PLB and Compass.


Thermal leggings, 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, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions), Gaiters

Available at huts, may be a tarn if you are lucky

The weather can change at any time, including wind, rain and snow.
In winter the snow can be very heavy on the ground, icy, soft or hard. On this trip I had up to 100cm drift in places, and needed the Microspikes on from Table Top.

Trail Legend

Crystal  Bartlett

Crystal Bartlett

has completed Mt Hector (From Otaki Forks) once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Did this from the carpark entrance where the road was blocked off due to a slip. Left at 7:25am and returned to car by 2:45pm. Moving time with some breaks at huts and ridge line pics included took 6:28mins. Total time with a break at the top of Hector and then lunch back at field hut 7:20hrs total distance return was 34km.
Awesome run. Hardest part was the track up to field hut and then the climb to Mt Hector.
Had a beautiful day weather wise. Very little wind and all blue sky. Was amazing. Aiming for Alpha hut next time with an earlier start. Praying for amazing weather when doing this again.

Crystal Bartlett

October 6, 2023

We were lucky enough to get a perfect bluebird day on Mt Hector, even so it is quite amazing the drop in temp from Kime Hutt to Hector. Definitely a run worth planning and doing with company.

Mike Richardson

October 10, 2022

Finally got to tick off this absolute awesome trail, one I've been wanting to do for ages. Took a little bit under 5.5 hours to complete (excluding the stopping and chatting with the many hikers on the trail).A single highlight would be hard to pick but would have to say just the change from a beauty of a day at from the bottom to table top then massive change in temp and condition of terrain. From kime Hut it became a slippery icey track and in places knee deep snow - not ideal for not having spikes with me but only taking a "seat" 4 times & no injuries I was rather happy.Can't wait for the summer to try complete the crossing.Cannot recommend this trail enough.

John Alexander

October 5, 2019

Tagged the Cross a few times both tramping and running over the years. Savage spot sometimes, and very occasionally calm and serene

Tony Sharpe

June 21, 2018

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