IntroductionGet panoramic views of Wainuiomata and the Hutt Valley as you climb to the top of Mt McKerrow.
The gate to Catchpool valley is open:
- 6 am – 8 pm from 28 September until 7 April
- 6 am – 6 pm from 8 April until 27 September
Mt McKerrow (706 m), in the Remutaka Forest Park, is not your typical maunga (mountain). You know you've scaled its peak when the uphill slog along a ridge in the Ōrongorongo Valley becomes a descent. Trees obscure the views at the top, but there are panoramic peeks of Wainuiomata and the Hutt Valley at vantage points en route.
You can start the trip to Mt McKerrow from Wainuiomata or the Catchpool Valley in the Remutaka Forest Park. From Hine Road and the end of Sunny Grove in Wainuiomata you can reach the Whakanui Track. At the top of the hill turn right at the signpost to follow the ridge south along the eastern side of the Wainuiomata Valley until you reach the top.
Just below the summit the track splits and you can go right to follow the Clay Ridge and Five Mile Loop tracks down to the Catchpool car park. This trip takes around six hours to complete. Or you can turn left and descend, coming out on the Orongorongo Valley Track to the car park. This option will add about an hour to your tramp.
Hine Road, which leads to the track from Wainuiomata, is the last road on the left as you head out of Wainuiomata towards the coast. Catchpool Valley, the other entry point, is 10 km down the coast road behind Wainuiomata.
Remember that mountain weather can quickly change so make sure you're equipped with warm clothes, food and water and stout footwear.
From the Catchpool car park end of the track you'll venture through regenerating podocarp hardwood scrub before encountering gnarly old podocarp hardwood and black and hard beech trees.
You pass through an area of windthrow – from where you get spectacular views of Wellington on a fine day – before reaching the summit and its cloak of silver beech.