Ride the Rimutaka Cycle Trail with an electric bike

At the end of last month we visited the Wairarapa to conquer the Incline on the Rimutaka Cycle Trail. This ride was high on our bucket list of rides. The trail passes through 5 tunnels and a rugged landscape along a historic path. We love these sort of rides that take us back in time. You can learn a lot about the circumstances people lived about 100 years ago.

Before we started our ride on the Rimutaka Cycle Trail

Stuart and Bernard at the start of the trail
Stuart and Bernard at the start of the trail

We met Stuart from Green Jersey Cycle Tours in Featherston at 10 am for a coffee at Everest CafĂ©. After a good chat about the trail and his operation, Stuart shuttled us over the Rimutaka Hill and dropped us near Maymourn Station. We were thankful for the transfer and supplies that consist of reliable ebikes, a tracking device (so we can’t disappear without a trace), bottles of water, maps and repair kits (that we hopefully don’t need to use). It’s advised to start riding the cycle trail from west to east, especially if you don’t have the luxury of an ebike. During the ride we found out why: It’s much harder to ride uphill from the other end.

Rimutaka Cycle Trail - Railway Tunnel
Rimutaka Railway Tunnel

Rimutaka Incline section on the Rimutaka Cycle Trail

During the 26 km from Maymourn Station to Cross Creek you will pass through 5 historic railway tunnels. We recommend to bring a headlamp as it gets quite dark in the longer tunnels. Most of the trail would suit a fit novice to intermediate rider. The track is mostly wide enough for 2 riders travelling next to each other. Calculate at least 3-4 hours. Please be aware there is no cell phone coverage. Bring warm and waterproof clothing as the weather can change quickly. Picnic tables and toilets can be found at Summit which is a good place for a break before you descend.

First you will pass through the 576m Summit tunnel and ride along the steep part of the trail – the historic Fell Locomotive Incline. Enjoy the views and read some of the informative poles that illustrate the history of the trail. When you arrive at Cross Creek its only a short, but narrow ride along some farmland to the car park. From here you follow the road for an additional 9km to Featherston. Ride carefully, watch for traffic and take extra caution when crossing the road.

Explore more of the Rimutaka Cycle Trail history

The Fell Locomotive Museum gives you insight on the people and their lives during those times. We highly recommend to visit the museum as part of the experience. You will find an array of memorabilia and artefacts to illustrate the remarkable history. The heart of the exhibition is the historic Fell Locomotive H199, that operated on New Zealand’s steepest railway line from 1878 till 1955. She was restored during 8 years that took volunteers 9,000 hours. The Fell Locomotive Museum is located in Featherston on the corner of Highway 2 and Lyon Street. It is open 7 days a week and has shorter opening hours outside the summer season. The entry fee is only $6 per adult and $13 for a family of 2 adults with up to 3 children (prices for October 2017).

Watch the official video of the Rimutaka Cycle Trail

Interested in an organised ebike tour?

Find out more about a self-drive tour while riding ebikes on five dedicated cycle ways in New Zealand…


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