Swing Bridge Track - Kaitoke Regional Park
Updated: Apr 6, 2022
Sunday, 23 April 2017
Sunday, 10 May 2020
Location: Kaitoke Regional Park, Upper Hutt (Park at the Rivendell carpark next to the swing bridge).
This has got to be one of our all time favourite walks, we would have done it at least half a dozen times. We've always walked it anti clockwise, starting from the swing bridge and ending up in Rivendell. We think this is one of the most beautiful (and easy) walks in the Wellington Region and it's short enough for the whole family to enjoy.
So first of all there's a swing bridge!
The first half of the track meanders through an old Rimu and Rātā forest with beautiful exposed root systems for the kids (and adult children) to explore.
At the top of the loop track there is a second bridge and then the track turns into a sealed road. We've never walked the "Terrace Walk" so we're not quite sure about that track.
When you get down to Rivendell you can still find one of the arches used in Lord of The Rings (we don't have a photo of it so below is courtesy of GWRC). The arches are near the river though and we always felt like there was a bit of a drop off along the track and no fencing, so we would never let our kids explore without supervision.
We've been on this walk numerous times in winter and will often bring sausages & bread for a BBQ lunch. Once we brought a little cooker and had a BBQ by the river under the bridge by the car park. It can get cold in Kaitoke though so it's a good idea to wrap up warm.
Usually we go back to the main Kaitoke area (so we move our cars) where there are covered BBQ's which are provided free of charge. They also have some picnic tables that you can move under the shelters if it starts to rain.
This is such a great spot to take a big group of people, we've celebrated Easter, had kids birthday parties and extended family gatherings with 20-30 people.
In summer the kids can also swim in the river and in winter (provided there isn't a fire ban), you can build a fire by the river and roast marshmallows. Nothing like trying to start a fire with some damp wood and receipts left in the car. Also - bring a soccer ball/outdoor sports equipment if you plan on spending a day at the Kaitoke Regional Park, there's lots of wide open grassy fields.
Age of our Kids: from Miss 2 & Master 4 upwards (we've done this walk too many times to record)
Buggy Friendly: Maybe a sturdy buggy/buggy pusher (if you're game) - you'd need to also make sure it could fit across the swing bridge (or carry it across)
Walking Time: 1 hour (or 1.5 hours if your kids like to play in every single giant tree)
Track Type: Loop
Amenities: There's a toilet block at the carpark
Dogs: Allowed on leads
Things to be aware of: There are a few drop offs towards the river (some are fenced) so we always keep close to the little kids.
Kids Rating (0-10)
Overall Fun Factor: 11/10
Legendary Factor (I've told all my friends about it): 7/10
Repeatability Factor (Can we please do it again): 10/10
Exhaustion Factor: 3/10