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Catchpool Dress Circle, Wellington

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Catchpool Dress CircleIntermediate

Submitted by Jon Peter Hart

Info Info
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Trail Information







Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush


7:00 (Slow)
5:00 (Moderate)
3:00 (Fast)



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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.

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Features of interest

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

Make Up of Run

Moderate Single Track: 100%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

The following trails overlap with this run 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 Strava activity for each

Mt Matthews

Mt Matthews

Length: 27.00km

Where in the Whakanui?

Where in the Whakanui?

Length: 17.20km


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Start at the Catch Pool Valley carpark off of Coast Road.

    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



  • Staying Safe


    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.

  • Post run indulgence

    Anywhere on Jackson St, Petone

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