State Highway 2 (Rimutaka Hill Road) near the top of the range
|Elevation||940 m (3,084 ft)|
|Location||Wairarapa/Wellington, New Zealand|
The Rimutaka Range (often referred to as the Rimutakas) is one of several mountain ranges in the North Island of New Zealand which form a ridge running parallel with the east coast of the island between East Cape and Wellington.The ridge is at its most pronounced in the southern part of the island, where it consists of the Ruahine, Tararua, and Rimutaka Ranges.
The Rimutakas run southwest-northeast for 55 kilometres from Turakirae Head at the eastern end of Palliser Bay to the upper reaches of the Hutt Valley where it joins the southern end of the Tararua Range. The highest peak in the Rimutakas is Mount Matthews, at 940 metres.
To cross the ridges from the Hutt Valley to Featherston and beyond, there is a narrow, winding road that forms part of State Highway 2. At the summit is a lookout point. A railway also used to climb across the Rimutakas; it included the famous Rimutaka Incline, a rare example of the Fell mountain railway system. It opened on 12 August 1878 and operated until 30 October 1955, when it was replaced by the Rimutaka Tunnel. This tunnel allows the Wairarapa Line to pass directly beneath the range, and the former route of the Incline is now a popular rail trail. A heritage society, the Rimutaka Incline Railway Heritage Trust, is currently seeking to rebuild the Incline as a tourist and historical attraction.
There was formerly a cafe on the summit of State Highway 2, but after disputes between the Greater Wellington Regional Council and a series of tenants over toilets and the ownership of the land, the building sat empty and was severely damaged by fire in April 2009.
- Geoffrey B. Churchman and Tony Hurst, The Railways of New Zealand: A Journey Through History (Auckland: HarperCollins, 1991), pp. 154-9.
- Rimutaka Incline Railway Heritage Trust - About Us
- Don Farmer, Summit a shambles, Wairapa Times-Age, 2009-03-29, retrieved 2009-10-02.
- "Rimutaka cafe fire treated as arson". Stuff.co.nz. NZPA. 6 April 2009. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
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