A prominent rocky outcrop commands 360 degree views of Powell Hut, Mount Holdsworth, the Jumbo Hut and the Atiwhakatu catchment. To the east the rolling pasturelands of the Wairarapa recede to the distance.
Mount Holdsworth is well signposted from SH2. 5 km south of Masterton City Centre, turn right into Norfolk Road, where Mount Holdsworth is signposted. After 10.5 km the road veers left, merging with Mount Holdsworth Road. There is a large camping area at the roadend, 5 km further on.
The start of the track is signposted from the far end of the carpark.
Follow the signs from the carpark and after 20 minutes head left along the Gentle Annie Track. This climbs gently but steadily on a well graded track to an open clearing, where Rocky Lookout is signposted. The vegetation is lower, dominated by tea tree, suggesting regeneration. The absence of tall trees also points to the notion this area on the spur was once cleared.
After the First World War, the Government opened up large areas of forested land to returned servicemen, who were given carte blanche to clear the land and convert it to pasture. For many the land was marginal, prone to severe erosion and with poor soil quality. Eking a living proved too difficult and many left in search of pastures new. The land around Rocky Lookout has been regenerating for nearly 100 years and now exhibits markedly different vegetation patterns to the surrounding forests.
North Island ▷ Wairarapa ▷ Masterton
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Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍