Last Updated: 20th May 2024


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Catchpool Dress Circle

Wainuiomata, Wellington

Submitted by Jon Peter Hart

Last Updated: 20th May 2024


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Grunt Factor: 47 ?

Gnarl Factor: 48 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush


Run Makeup


Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +11.9%

Average Downhill Gradient: -11.6%


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Estimated Times to Run







Begin at the Catchpool carpark at the end of the valley road. Follows the signs for the middle ridge track (to the left of the information shelter) for a short sharp climb out of the carpark area. You will shortly come to the clay forks intersection with options to return to the carpark for a much shorter loop. Take the clay ridge track which climbs steadily for the next 5km up to McKerrow which is the highest point of the run (McKerrow does not have a trig point and is marked by a track intersection).

Continue straight on the Mckerrow track for a few more kms towards the Whakanui intersection. The track can be fairly boggy in this section even on a good day but rest assured. it doesn't last long. At the Whakanui track intersection continue straight on the Whakanui track (left takes you towards Wainuiomata). Shortly after this there is an unmarked entrance to the East Whakanui track if you want to extend by a few kms, however, this run continues following the orange markers on Whakanui track which will lead you down to the Orongorongo river (great place to refill water).

At the end of the Whakanui track you will meet the Big Bend track which will lead you back down the valley past several huts towards the start of the Orongorongo track. Stay on this track for approximately 2km before you will see a sign indicating the start of the Cattle Ridge track on your left (at this point you could continue along the Orongorongo track back to the carpark, for a slightly shorter run with less ascent). Slog your way up a fairly decent ascent to Cattle Ridge to be rewarded by some decent ridge running on a fairly well-maintained track. After approximately 5kms you will reach the Butcher track which will lead you on a fairly quick descent back to the Orongorongo track and the Catchpool carpark.

This trail includes the peak McKerrow.

Orongorongo river, good views of Mt Mathews and Wellington CBD, potential for Kiwi sightings

Catchpool carpark.

Plenty of parking available and generally fairly safe with large amounts of people flocking to the area to tramp on sunny weekends.

14 km

19 minutes




The topomap indicates more route options on the Whakanui track than are visible when running it. Continue following the orange markers and the obvious track through this section and you will be fine.


Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

Water is available at the Orongorongo river. There are also several small streams crossing the Whakanui track, however, water will likely need to be filtered on the go.

Can be very windy along the ridges.

Some sections of the track have quite a few roots to dodge.

Anywhere on Jackson St, Petone

Trail Legend

Rob Tomkies

Rob Tomkies

has completed Catchpool Dress Circle once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Lots of roots and keep your eye on the orange markers! Beautiful bush, good views, refreshing river to dip your feet in. Main ridge/clay ridge is quite overgrown with gorse currently.

Aimee Francois

September 19, 2021

This was a epic day out for our crew. We didn't complete the final up section at the end, just came back along the main trail. Took our group of 10, 6 hours. The trail was pretty technical up the top and VERY boggy (completed in Oct and there has been rain during the week), so slow moving for beginner - intermediate runners. Very steep up and down in parts, but a lot of fun! It can get pretty cold up the top, so make sure you take all the right gear along, PLB would definitely be recommended as you are very isolated for the bulk of the run. Enjoy and pack snacks :)

Eve Southan

October 21, 2019

Great day out. Loved the Whakanui Track.

Richele McKenzie

April 25, 2019

Tough run actually. But stunning and amazing trails

Benn Jordan

April 25, 2019

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Overlapping Trails

These overlap with this trail to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate activity for each.

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Level: Beginner - Intermediate

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Length: 17.2km

Level: Intermediate - Experienced

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