Wellington and the Wairarapa Sights

The Rimutaka Incline

  • Trail/Path

Published 08/30/2016

Fodor's Review

Operating from 1878 until 1955, the Rimutaka Incline Railway connected Wellington and the Wairarapa. Special locomotives known as Fell engines were needed to haul trains up the steepest grade in the country. In 1955, a tunnel superseded the Rimutaka Incline, the tracks were torn up, and the former railway route was converted into a trail for walking and cycling. Running from Kaitoke, just north of Upper Hutt, to a parking area just beyond Cross Creek, near Featherston on the Wairarapa side, it covers about 16 km (10 miles) and takes about five hours to walk. The trail passes through two old tunnels, several bridges, and some wild countryside. You'll mostly find compacted gravel underfoot, but it can get muddy in bad weather. Beware of high winds on the Wairarapa side; a train was once blown off the tracks here! To arrange transport at both ends of the track, contact Fred Roberts of Valley Shuttles (04/973–81500 or 27/248–1745).

The only remaining Fell engine is now on display at the Fell Locomotive Museum in the Wairarapa.

Sight Information


Upper Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand

Published 08/30/2016


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