We spent a morning exploring the native bush followed by a lovely picnic and a stroll around Rivendell Film Location. It was a great family outing for us, we were back for the boys to have their afternoon naps, but managed to wear out Archie (he’s 21 months and full of beans). It was great to finally get outside and stroll amongst the trees, especially with Archie on foot. Outings like this are what I imagined life would be like living in New Zealand, and as a keen tramper (hiker) it felt great to introduce the boys to one of my favourite hobbies.
Most of the 6 walks available (see below) are through native bush with beautiful Rimu/Rata forest and the iconic New Zealand ferns. The paths wind amongst the trees, with great views of Kaitoke River. There is even a swimming hole for those who wish to cool off. The river can be cold and swift however, so be careful.
For an easy to reach location it’s a great place to follow a short track and immerse yourself in the native bush. The Loop Walk (see below) is short but will be brilliant as Archie and Tristan get older, with it’s educational information panels.
The Rivendell Walking Track is an easy 15 min return walk.
Firstly, Rivendell in real life looks nothing like it does on Lord of the Rings. There’s mostly a few signs and information about this tree being in that scene and the mossy hillock where Legolas (played by Orlando Bloom) posed for many of the movie posters. A replica gateway from the set and a short slow stroll is all that’s there. As film locations go for Lord of the Rings, it’s not one of the most exciting, but it is still worth a visit.
15 mins return, disabled access walk along an access road to Kaitoke Weir.
30 mins return. A gentle walk along a river terrace through native forest.
15 mins return. An easy walk over a swing-bridge with great river views. Information Panels along the way are great sources of information about the native rain forest.
1 hr return. An easy walk across a swing-bridge. Great river view from the bridge and at viewpoints along the way. Return is via Flume bridge and along the road.
Pakuratahi River Walk
40 mins return. An easy walk linking the campground to Pakuratahi Forks and the walks detailed above.
The main car park is at Rivendell, on State Highway 2 approx 1 hr drive from Wellington. there is decent parking there, all free. There is also a campground, useful picnic area and toilets.
Kaitoke Regional Park is a great place to visit for Wellingtonians and those from the Wairarapa. With a choice of walks in the native bush, a swimming hole in the river, (when it’s warm enough) and also the film location for Rivendell from Lord of The Rings, there’s plenty there for a great family day out.