Mt Matthews

Track category

Tramping track

Time:  

1 day

Description

Mt Matthews from the Orongorongo Valley. Photo: Steve Sutton.
Mt Matthews

Mt Matthews is the tallest peak in the Rimutaka range and the nearest to Wellington. The climb to the summit will take you 949 m above sea level.

Described as “a hard day’s grind”, the return trip to Mt Matthews takes a full day and is suitable only for fit trampers. The tramp begins by following the Orongorongo Track which starts at the top parking area in the Catchpool Valley, Rimutaka Forest Park. Follow the gentle gradient of this track for about 5 km before descending to an arched bridge over the Turere Stream to the Orongorongo River.

Walk up the river bed for an hour (about 4 km) until you reach Matthews Stream. A poled route criss-crosses the stream for about 600 metres leading to the start of the Mt Matthews Track on the true left. The track climbs steeply, passing the South Saddle/Mukamuka Track and emerging onto a grassy plateau.

You then have to negotiate a narrow section of ridge and ascend a steep face to reach the peak.

Features

The summit is clad with forest, but you can catch glimpses of  Palliser Bay, and the Wairarapa Plains through gaps in trees. A hard climb up to the south saddle — a grassy plateau about half way to the top is rewarded with spectacular views of Wellington Harbour and the lower Wainuiomata Valley.

En route you see evidence of the earthquakes which uplifted the range over the last 12 million years. The last, in 1855, measured about eight on the Richter scale and raised the Rimutakas by around three metres.

Vegetation

Nikau palms and kiekie vines are the first native plants you encounter on your ascent. They lead to a more open area of red beech forest after which you'll pass through pockets of rimu, miro and kamahi. The steep section passes through open beech forest to the grassy plateau which offers impressive views.

The steepest face at the end leads to a narrow section of ridge adorned by moss-clad silver beech.

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Getting there

The Catchpool Valley in the Rimutaka Forest Park is located 10 km behind Wainuiomata on the coast road.

Places to stay


The huts in the Orongorongo Valley/Rimutaka Forest Park are available for exclusive hire. If you want to extend your trip and stay in any of the six huts along the way, bookings can be made via the online booking system or by contacting the DOC Wellington Visitor Centre.

Backcountry hut passes and hut tickets are not valid for the booked huts.

Plan and prepare

Remember that mountain weather can quickly change so make sure you're equipped with warm clothes, food and water and good walking boots.

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Safety

Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

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Contacts

Pōneke / Wellington Visitor Centre
Phone:      +64 4 384 7770
Address:   18 Manners Street
Wellington
Email:   wellingtonvc@doc.govt.nz
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