The Orongorongo Track is the most popular in Rimutaka Forest Park. It's an easy grade and makes for a pleasant day trip to the Orongorongo Valley and back to the Catchpool car park.
For the first hour and a half the track climbs through the mixed podocarp and broadleaf forest along Catchpool Stream. The damper floor of the Catchpool Valley supports many nikau palms, tree ferns, kamahi and tawa trees.
As you climb up to the drier sides of Cattle Ridge, the forest is more open and consists mainly of hard beech. Look out for a magnificent grove of huge northern rata trees towering above the forest canopy as the track reaches its highest point in the saddle between Catchpool Valley and the Orongorongo River.
There are safe swimming holes at Turere Stream at the end of the track.
Catchpool valley is 12 km south of Wainuiomata. Follow the Coast Road for 10 km to the Rimutaka Forest Park entrance, then follow the Catchpool valley road for 2 km to the car park and information area. If the water is flowing over the ford on the road, park before the ford and use the Nga Taonga Nature Walk to reach the car park.
The track starts from the main car park next to the small information shelter.
Know before you go
Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.