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Walking, running and tramping

Walking, running and tramping

Updated 12 January 2021 10:33am

Today there is an extensive network of tracks and old logging roads in the Akatarawa Forest.  Many of the logging roads were formed over 60 years ago and may be overgrown. Parts of the forest are rugged and isolated, and for your own safety take a copy of Topo50 BP32 – Paraparaumu and keep to the marked tracks unless you know the area. Take note of all signs and go with a group of experienced trampers.

Forest roads are used daily for management purposes, and there are many popular mountain bike trails. Please watch out for vehicles and mountain bikers (although with 15,000 hectares there is plenty of room for everyone).

There are many good picnic sites on bush fringes and stream edges. No facilities are provided. The terrain is not generally suitable for people with mountain buggies.

Wilderness camping is available in some parts of the forest. Please contact the park ranger for details of suitable sites, as areas are periodically affected by fallen trees and flooding.


Forest walks

Karapoti Gorge

  • 3 hours return
  • easy

Karapoti Road follows the Akatarawa River west. The road narrows to a single lane track and rises above the river through a bush clad gorge to McGhies Bridge. About 1 km further on you reach a clearing by the river. There are several deep pools suitable for swimming. Watch out for trail bikes.

Mount Titi

  • 5 hours return
  • moderate/demanding

From Maungakotukutuku Road cross the stream and follow Perhams Road uphill about 6km to reach a T junction with Titi Road. Turn left (east) up Titi Road for a further 3km until a clay road curves off left (north). Head along this track and follow a rough track west to Mount Titi. Return the same way. Watch out for trail bikes.

Experienced trampers may wish to continue north along the ridge to Mount Maunganui, returning to Maungakotukutuku Road down the steep north-west ridge through native forest.

Cannon Point Walkway 

  •  3 - 4 hours
  • moderate 

Cannon Point Walkway is a moderately demanding walk on a well formed track, in the hills to the north of Upper Hutt. It is 10 km long and passes through private land and Greater Wellington's Akatarawa forest. Highlights include native bush, the historic Birchville Reservoir and spectacular views of the Hutt Valley.

Dogs must be on a lead on private land. Mountain bikes are not allowed on the Bridge Road-Birchville Dam section of the walkway.

How to get there:

  • The main entrance point to the walk is at Bridge Road, Akatarawa. Follow State Highway 2 (River Road) to Akatarawa Road, north of Upper Hutt city centre. Bridge Road turns off Akatarawa Road 2.5 km north of the junction with State Highway 2.
  • Access is also available off Tulsa Grove, Totara Park.
  • Public Transport: Catch a train to Upper Hutt then a number 110 bus to Bridge Road or number 111 Totara Park bus to Tulsa Grove.

From the Bridge Road carpark the Cannon Point Walkway follows the pipeline from the old Birchville Reservoir. The reservoir lake and dam is approximately 1 km upstream surrounded by a bush clad valley. A return trip to the dam will take approximately one hour.

From the dam the Walkway follows a graded climb out of the valley to the hilltops above. It continues along a firebreak beside Valley View forest until reaching Cannon Point, giving panoramic views of the Hutt Valley.

There is a choice of two routes down from Cannon Point. The shorter, direct descent follows a zigzag track down the southern face of the hill. The longer descent follows the forest access road down the western ridge. Walkers using the access road need to watch out for vehicles.

From Tulsa Grove the route returns to Bridge Road via California Drive, through California Park and along the banks of the Hutt River.

Cannon Point gained its name from the 1850s sawmilling days when a large tree, shaped like a cannon when viewed from the valley, was left lying on the hilltop. After clearing, the land was farmed by the Whiteman brothers as Valley View Station. The steep zigzag track, now part of the walkway, was cut for foot and horse access to the Station. Birchville Water Reservoir was built in 1929. The reservoir supplied water to Upper Hutt until the Kaitoke Scheme started operations in 1954.


Staying safe 

  • Keep to the track and respect the owners’ property. Use stiles and do not climb fences. Leave gates as you find them
  • Protect all wildlife, plants and natural features
  • Please leave your pets at home. No dogs are allowed on private land
  • Mountain bikes are not permitted on the Birchville Reservoir section of the Walkway
  • Vehicles, horses and guns are prohibited on the Walkway
  • Please take your rubbish home and recycle when possible
  • Good walking shoes essential
  • Weather conditions often change rapidly. Be prepared with warm, waterproof clothing
  • Check the website during summer as part or all of the Walkway may be closed due to fire risks
  • Warning: Be aware that mountain bikers, four wheel drive vehicles and logging trucks may be operating in Valley View Forest.