Karapoti Challenge


Karapoti Challenge


Akatarawa Forest, Wellington, New Zealand


Short version of an annual race around the Akatarawa Forest. The course includes a variety of track types and conditions, with challenging hill climbs and fun descents.




Bike and Foot


Stage 1: Karapoti Road (1.7km)
Start on Karapoti Road, 0.2km off Akatarawa Road, at the eastern end of the bridge over the Akatarawa River. Proceed west along Karapoti Road to where the road opens out into a car park at the end.

Stage 2: Karapoti Gorge (4.3km)
At the western end of the car park, follow the track that heads up the Karapoti Gorge. After 0.4km you'll need to cross the unbridged Little Akatarawa River - which is rocky and cold, though shallow (except after heavy rain, when it can be deep and fast flowing). From there, the track meanders up the valley, climbing progressively alongside the Akatarawa River West before descending slightly to McGhies Bridge.

Stage 3: McGhies (2.0km)
Turn left over the concrete McGhies Bridge, which crosses the Akatarawa River West. Climb over the metal gate and head up the moderately steep gravel road. After a while the road turns down hill, ending in a large clearing at a three-way intersection with Valley View Road and Woolshed Road.

Stage 4: Valley View Road (3.2km)
At the clearing, turn left up a steep forestry road. After 1.8km of challenging climbing the road reaches the ridgeline. To the left is Lindsay's Road, but turn right to follow Valley View Road for a further 1.4km along the rolling hill tops amongst mature pine forest.

Stage 5: Airstrip Drive (0.8km)
At a sign-posted intersection, turn right into Airstrip Drive. This forestry road wanders along, gently weaving its way through the pines to the top of Woolshed Road.

Stage 6: Woolshed Road (2.3km)
At a T-intersection, turn right down Woolshed Road. The descent is steep and fast, with a bit of rutted cornering to add some technical challenge. The clay surface offers little in the way of grip, other than a thin layer of pine needles, so beware if the track is wet. This Stage ends at the large clearing encountered at the end of Stage 3.

Stage 7: McGhies (2.0km)
From here on you'll backtrack via the first three stages in reverse. After a short climb, the descent to McGhies Bridge is fast. Watch out for loose gravel and potentially vehicles heading up the hill towards you. Remember to stop for the metal gate at the near end of McGhies Bridge.

Stage 8: Karapoti Gorge (4.3km)
After a short, gently climb, hoon back down the Karapoti Gorge - again watching out for other track users (including horses and motor bikes) on this often busy track.

Stage 9: Karapoti Road (1.7km)
Finally, wander back along the access road back to the start/finish line.

Getting there

Starts and ends on Karapoti Road, next to the bridge over the Akatarawa River.

Other notes

See the Karapoti website for more information about the race.




Gravel road

Last modified

26 Aug 2009 by Ian

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