Mt McKerrow Loop

A wonderful introduction to Remutaka Forest Park, Mt McKerrow was an enjoyable 16km loop through beautiful native bush, only 45 mins drive from central Wellington. The Remutakas are understandably popular, with opportunities for a wide range of outdoor activities, from short easy walks, to multi-day hikes.

The most popular place to access the Remutakas is Catchpool Valley, home to a huge car park and these welcoming carvings, though rather than pass through them onto the Orongorongo Track I turned left and crossed over Catchpool Stream.

From here I took Middle Ridge Track, the hardest of three options (Orongorongo Track and Five Mile Loop are the others) that basically reach the same point. It’s a small ridge but has the occasional view.

I then joined the enjoyably rough at times Clay Ridge Track steadily climbing around 550m.

There were some fantastic trees and hardly anyone around.

While almost all of the track was in the bush, there were occasional glimpses out toward Wellington City and Upper Hutt.

There was one incredible spot where it opened up fully and there were a huge panoramic views of the whole of Wellington City.

Which offered plenty of opportunities for my telephoto lens.

There was a handy log, making this a great space for lunch.

It was then back into the bush, though it was thin in places.

But thickened up with atmospheric moss covered bush heading toward the summit.

There didn’t appear to be anything at the 706m summit Mt McKerrow other than a metal pole in the middle of the track.

I then headed back down the McKerrow Track through more attractive bush, with the odd view.

This giant fallen silver fern was a sight.

After tackling hundreds of tree roots down the hill it was quite a contrast to join onto the well graded Orongorongo Track. This is by far the most popular track in the park, with dozens of people passing by me on their way to the half dozen bookable huts along by Orongorongo River.

The track went through some gorgeous bush, illuminated by the afternoon sunshine.

It was a fast and easy return back to the Catchpool car park.

Author: jontycrane

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