Tararua Forest Park Adventure

Tararua forest park adventure run to Atiwhakatu hut from Holdsworth Campsite.
With a day off work, we decided to go for a nice easy adventure run in the Tararua mountain ranges.

We set off from home just before 8am. We wanted to try get to the trail start with plenty of time to enjoy the nice warm spring weather. The journey out to Holdsworth is a fairly long way. Although when the sun is shining and there is no traffic, it’s not too big an issue!

As we were driving to the Holdsworth Campsite we saw there was still snow up on some of the peaks. This made us glad we had decided to stick to a low route for this adventure run. Especially as I was still struggling a bit with my running.

The Doc sign at the start of the track, showing the ranges in the Tararua forest park.

We set off from the campsite along the trail towards Donnelly flats. This bit of forest has great running tracks which aren’t too technical.

Beautiful trails!

The run out towards the hut had a few sections which are fairly steep. There were a few sections with steps in places, but was mostly a flowy undulating track. I was really struggling on the outbound part of this run. The track slowly gains elevation most of the way there. Rob tried to keep encouraging me on, and waited for me after some of the sections I struggled with.

Picturesque river along the track in the Tararua forst park.

The scenery along this route was so picturesque! It made the hard work getting out to the hut totally worth it. There was however 1 bridge which I really didn’t like! It was a 1-man wire bridge which made me go a bit light-headed as I crossed it! I was so glad when I got to the other side but was dreading the return journey across it!

We made it to the hut!

Before long we eventually made it to the hut! It felt so good being out in the forest on a work day! After taking a few photos and checking out the hut, we started making our way back to the car.

The Atiwhakatu hut in the Tararua forest park.

The way back was way easier due to it being flat and slightly downhill, with just a few uphill sections. I felt so free running through the forest! It made me realise why I love trail running so much especially in the Tararua forest park!

Rob and Jo crossing one of the many bridges in the Tararua forest park.

Donnelly flats return

We soon got back to the Donnely flats again and made our way through the last bit of forest. My Achilles had starting to ache around this point of the run. I was so glad we were almost back to the car.

From Donnely flat, we saw quite a few people walking dogs and enjoying the sun. When we got to the last bridge before Holdsworth, we encountered a large group of kids. They were all carrying huge backpacks, probably making their way to the hut we had just been to. Would have been a noisy night at the hut that evening!

After we got over the bridge, it didn’t take us long to get back to the car.

It was such a great run, one I will be returning to do again! I would recommend this trail to anyone who loves running trails.
A video of this trail can be found on the PuddlePounce YouTube channel.