The Southern Crossing of the Tararuas has history dating back to 1915, when the first Alpha Hut was built. The tramp from Otaki Forks to Kaitoke is a challenging 2 or 3 day tramp, and the weather on the Tararua tops is not to be underestimated. Mt Hector is the tramp’s highest point, and is marked by a large wooden cross, in memory of trampers and climbers who lost their lives in WW1 and WW2. This alone makes it a special place for any New Zealand peak bagger.
For a good description of the Southern Crossing see Ian Fisk’s Southern Crossing (1995) page.
If only interested in bagging Mt Hector, you could start from Otaki Forks, overnight in Kime Hut, visit Hector, and then return back down to Otaki Forks the next day. However, this is fairly unnecessary as both ends of the tramp are with in taxi range from Otaki or Upper Hutt.
|Elevation||1,529 m (5,016 ft)|
|Location/List||North Island, New Zealand|
|Location Coordinates||40° 57′ 6″ S, 175° 16′ 54″ E|
|Nearest Town/s||Upper Hutt, Levin , Wellington
Otaki lies on State Highway 1, halfway between Wellington and Palmerston North (it’s 70km/1.5 hrs to either). Just south of the Otaki River bridge, turn off on to Otaki Gorge Rd. At the very end of Otaki Gorge Rd, 19km from Otaki, is Otaki Forks.
Due to vandalism and theft, parking your car overnight at the Kaitoke end is not recommended.
The one way nature of the Southern Crossing, and its proximity to population centres, make using public transport a very real and useful option.
To get to the Otaki Forks from central Wellington, you first need to catch a bus to Otaki, and then take a taxi to Otaki Forks.
At the Kaitoke end, you can order a taxi to take you to Upper Hutt train station, where you can catch a Hutt Valley line train to Wellington central station (runs every half hour, see MetLink for more information on trains).
The following coach services run the Wellington – Otaki – Palmerston North route:
- Choice Taxi Company Otaki – 06-364 8294, 41A Manuka St, Otaki, Kapiti
- Hutt & City Taxis Ltd – 04-570 0057, 20 Victoria St Alicetown Lower Hutt
Google Earth Map
- You can also
NZ Topographic Map
Weather and Webcam Links
- Met Service Local
- Met Service Mountain Forecast
- Met Service Weather Warnings
- Current Conditions in Upper Hutt
|101 Great Tramps in New Zealand, Mark Pickering and Rodney Smith, Reed Publishing NZ Ltd. (2004), See pages 102-104|
|North Island Weekend Tramps (Bird’s Eye Guides), Shaun Barnett. (2008), See pages 136-139|
|Tramping in New Zealand, Shaun Barnett, Craig Potton Publishing (2006). See pages 136-139|