If you're looking for an lengthy and difficult mountain slog, this one is for you!
We're going to climb Mt Matthews, the tallest peak in the Rimutaka range and the nearest to Wellington, 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 very fit trampers.
What we're doing
The tramp begins by following the Orongorongo Track which starts at the top parking area in the Catchpool Valley, Rimutaka Forest Park. We will 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.
Then we'll walk up the river bed for an hour (about 4 km) until we 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.
Nikau palms and kiekie vines are the first native plants we'll encounter on our 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 track climbs steeply, passing the South Saddle/Mukamuka Track and emerging onto a grassy plateau. We then have to negotiate a narrow section of ridge and ascend a steep face to reach the peak.
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.
The summit is clad with forest, but if the weather's nice, we'll 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 we'll 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.
this will be fast-paced because we need to be up and back the same day.
Time: 11 hours
What To Bring: Sturdy footwear. A wind and waterproof jacket is essential for combating strong winds. It is a good idea to wear layers of clothing which you can peel off as you get hot and put on again as you cool. Take plenty of high energy snacks and drinking water with you. Bring something for lunch and dinner. Bring extra spare clothing in case of wet weather. Remember that mountain weather can quickly change so the spare clothing and wet weather gear (regardless of forecast) are essential.
How to RSVP
Due to the seriousness of this event you must have attended a previous walk with Adventure Wellington to prove your level of fitness. To RSVP, you must join the waiting list and wait for an organizer to approve your application. Due to the nature of this walk a smaller manageable group is required hence limited to 10.