Rolling Over The Rimutakas

There is plenty of great countryside in New Zealand, in fact, kilometre by kilometre, it must be one of the most scenic countries in the world. Much of its dramatic scenery is cause by New Zealand being situated fair and square on the fault line which is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. New Zealand is geologically very active, and it is these immense forces push up the land that are mostly responsible for the sheer beauty of the place.

To gain a fair idea of just how spectacular New Zealand’s scenery can be, take a drive in a car across the Rimutaka Range, or simply the Rimutakas, as the kiwis call it.

A one way journey from Wellington to Featherston, the first town you enter on the far ,side of the Rimutakas, takes about one and a half hours. The first two thirds of the journey is rather sedate, but also quite beautiful, as it follows the contours off Wellington Harbour to, and then continues on though the Hutt Valley, until you begin a dramatic climb.

Your ascent seems to begin quite quickly, and the scenery also undergoes a swift change , morphing from attractive townships and rich farmland into heath-covered hills which get suddenly steeper.

The road gets narrower and more windy as it wends its way up to the crest of the range. The hills adopt a more perilous incline, and the traffic slows as heavier vehicles struggle with the gradient, and with too few opportunities to overtake, motorists should prepare themselves for the long haul.

Any frustrations at having once progress impeded are more than compensated For by the opportunity to have more time to enjoy the enjoyable views. Sadly, this reward can only truly be appreciated by passengers as the road is such, that drivers must concentrate on road a and traffic conditions. The fact that the road often skirts the shoulders of steep hills by mere centimetres is a powerful reason for the driver to concentrate more on the road than than to spin around often to admire the view.

This is road which demands the drivers full attention, particularly as traffic runs both ways, and vehicles can get very close to each other on the sharper corners.

As tough as it is, it is a satisfying experience to drive along Highway 2 through the Rimutakas, and you gain both a sense of relief and satisfaction when you roll into Featherston, knowing that you have completed on of the many great drives New Zealand offers.

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