Happy new year 2019! We celebrated with a tramp on our doorstep: Remutaka Incline in the beautiful Wairarapa region of NZ. I would absolutely love to photograph an engagement session here, if this walk has special meaning to a local couple.
The 7km Remutaka Incline forms part of the Remutaka Rail Trail which in turn forms part of the 115km Remutaka Cycle Trail from Wellington to the wild coast on the south Wairarapa at Orongorongo. Phew!
The mountain fell railway opened in 1878 and was of service to the agricultural and social needs of the Wairarapa, connecting it to the major port in Wellington, for 77 years. The gentle walking, cycling and running route popular with families, follows the old rail route.
After a leisurely sleep in, we started from the Cross Creek carpark in Featherston, walked up the incline through the three tunnels to reach the summit; and back down again (totaling 14km). We could have continued a further 11km to Kaitoke but decided to leave that for another day.
The DOC website describes the innovative fell rail system: "It involved a centre rail - elevated above the running rail - gripped by a series of horizontal wheels fitted to the specially designed engines, and brake vans which took trains up and down the incline.". Technology evolved incredibly quickly making the fell system obsolete; and the incline was replaced by a tunnel through the Remutaka Range.
We loved the insight into the history of the railway, what it was like to live in this remote and beautiful part of the world. It was an adventure using torchlight to walk through the tunnels with oncoming cyclists! We also loved seeing the native forest regenerating after the fires caused by the sparks from the trains.
I hope you enjoy the photos of our adventure walk.
Waking through Siberia Tunnel
Gorgeous native forest covered mountains, bordered by pines, fields and a babbling creek
Historic map showing the route between Wellington and Featherston
We saw plenty of wildlife including Tui, Kereru Wood Pigeon, Kāhu Australasian marsh harrier and this stunning Kapokapowai Bush giant dragonfly.
The forested section from the carpark to Cross Creek Station is delightful on a warm day
Cross Creek Station was once a thriving small community
Remains of rail yards at Cross Creek
The curves of the trail and the curves of the mountains melt together beautiful
Cyclists, trail runners and trampers share the trail in harmony
A babbling creek underneath the now-disappeared Siberia Curve
Gorgeous trickling waterfall beside the entrance to Siberia Tunnel
I love the vibrant green native forest
The Summit has a lovely assortment of picnic tables and historic rail engines and water tankers
Rusty pipes make an attractive reminder of industry long gone
The view from the trail towards Lake Wairarapa and beyond
Lots of love, Sarah x