Kaitoke is located at the northern end of the Hutt Valley some six kilometres from the northern end of the Upper Hutt urban area. It also lies at the southern end of the Tararua Range. The "Puffer" tramping track providing access into the Tararua Forest Park climbs from Kaitoke onto and along the Marchant Ridge. This ridge is the part of the Tararuas that is prominently visible from Wellington. The Marchant Track has a side track leading to the Tauherenikau Valley. The end of the Marchant Ridge (after four hours of 'up hill, all the way, both ways') leads to Mount Alpha, and onto The Southern Crossing. The entire track to Alpha skirts the Hutt Water Collection Area.
The first Youth Hostel in the North Island was established in the old Ministry of Works barracks at Kaitoke, which were behind the Post Office and alongside the Kaitoke Hall. The Post Office, the Hall, and the Youth Hostel were the only buildings of the settlement. Other facilities include a small airstrip operated by the Upper Valley Gliding Club for the purposes of gliding the area's thermals.
The Pakuratahi River flows through the eastern Kaitoke Basin from its source in the Rimutaka Ranges. The Hutt River has its source to the north of Kaitoke, and much of the land in the vicinity is used as a water supply reserve. Filming, rafting, swimming and other human activity all take place downstream of the water intake.
The nearby Kaitoke Regional Park was the filming location for exterior shots of Rivendell for the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.