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Norbett Creek Loop, Wellington

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Norbett Creek LoopIntermediate

Submitted by Joe Benbow

Info Info
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Trail Information






Upper Hutt

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush
Open ridges/tops


2:00 (Slow)
1:30 (Moderate)
1:00 (Fast)



April 2021: From the regional council:We're replacing the Kaitoke swing bridge.The swing bridge at the Pakuratahi Forks has been removed while we replace it. We expect the new wider bridge to be open in mid-July. You can access the forest on the other side of the river via the Flume Bridge, but you will not be able to complete the loop at the Pakuratahi Forks for the time being. If you have an update on this please email us.

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Starting at the campsite, cross the bridge and follow the track marked Pakuratahi River Walk, which is a gentle undulating track for about 1km. Ignore the left turn to the Ridge Track (that's covered in the "To Rivendell" route in the Directory). Turn right when you hit the road, then right again to explore the Rivendell area that was one of the film locations for the Lord Of The Rings film trilogy.

Once you're done exploring here, turn left and head back along the road the way you came, this time continuing all the way out to the Strainer House and across the bridge. You've then got a sweet run up through some historic native bush with some incredibly old and beautiful rata and rimu trees.

You'll soon pop out at the swingbridge which will take you back to the Rivendell car park. Head up the road and turn left, following the road then track out to Kaitoke weir which is worth the short detour. Head back along the track from the weir, then left into the camping area where you should see the sign for Norbett Creek route heading into the bush. Note: While the swingbridge is closed, an alternative is to run up the road to Rivendell and back, then do the swing bridge as an out and back.

After a small creek crossing, you then begin a monster climb uphill for about 1.5k (the gradient is as much as 50% in places). The track is technical but well formed and you should be fine as long as you keep following the orange triangles. Eventually, you'll pop out on the Catchment Road 4WD track with great views across the Tararuas on a fine day. Turn right here and enjoy a well-earned 3k run downhill to the campground and back to where you started.

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Features of interest

There are many interesting features on this run - 1200 year old Rata and Rimu, the film location for the home of the elves in Lord of The Rings, and the Kaitoke weir which helps supply water to Wellington and the Hutt Valley

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 20%

Easy Single Track: 30%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 25%

Sealed Road: 25%

Route Data


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  • Access

    Start at the Kaitoke Regional Park Campground (there is a car park near the bridge at the turn off to Rivendell). This is on Waterworks Road off SH2. Or alternatively you could start at the Rivendell car park

    Plenty of safe parking at the popular campground. Gates close at 9pm. No public transport.

    15 km

    16 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    When heading up the Norbett Creek track, make sure you follow the orange triangles

    Very patchy.

    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.

    Safe drinking water is available at Rivendell and Kaitoke campsites

    The 4WD track is high and exposed so pack an extra layer just in case

    The Norbett Creek track is very steep and rooty - watch your step!

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