Kaitoke Swingbridge Track

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Where: Kaitoke Regional Park, Hutt Valley, Wellington
Distance & Time: 1.5 hours, 7km
Take: water, camera
Amenities on route: Bathroom at the campground at the start of the walk, lots of carparks available
Cost of the walk: Free


Kaitoke Regional Park is north of Upper Hutt, just before the road heads over the Rimutaka Ranges. Taking a sharp turnoff, the road ends at a massive campground, and is also the starting point for several short walks around the hills here. For the past 20+ years, it has also been a stopping point for Lord of The Rings (LOTR) fans, as some filming took place here.

We had stayed overnight at the campground, and in the morning headed out for a walk. The campground is massive, with lots of different areas for tents, campervans + caravans to spread out. As we were leaving for our walk, a group of people arrived to set up for a BBQ and an afternoon of cricket. It was actually quite neat to see the space being used by so many people.

This photo would almost have you believe I smile while walking uphill.

On our way down to the river and the swingbridge, we passed the spot where the filming for LOTR had taken place. Thankfully they had signboards there to show where a certain tree/shrub/view was used in the movie or I would have had absolutely no idea. It was literally just that though, a tree was used. Or a quick glimpse of a view that was also then heavily CGI’d over. There was also an archway but it isn’t even from the film, some guys got together and put it up afterwards, so there would be something here for people to take photos with! I had a photo with it though, so I suppose it worked!

Crossing over the bridge, we just kept following the swingbridge path, it was a super easy track to walk and didn’t require too much concentration. After a while we crossed back over a river towards the strainer house building, then headed back up the road. From there we took another wee bush path, the terrace track, that somehow ended up back across from the area where the LOTR spot was. Still not entirely sure how we got there, but that’s kind of the magic of a place like this, you’ll always somehow end up back where you need to be.

Amy’s Advice – if you’re feeling up for more of a hike, head to the northern end of the campsite and cross the creek to do a loop walk up to the top and then back down to the swingbridge. Takes a couple of hours, but it’s worth it!

And the best part was, that because we were camped there, we were able to go back to the van and make ourselves a cup of tea post-walk!

The photos were taken by Paul + I!

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