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By Aimee Dykstra
October 02, 2018

The Best One-Day Hikes Near Wellington

Swap the pavement for coastal bush, swing bridges and wooded hills.
By Aimee Dykstra
October 02, 2018

The weather is warming up and the nights are getting longer, making it the perfect time to head out into the fresh air on a weekend stroll. Lucky for you, Wellington is brimming with one-day walking tracks. From easy kid-friendly strolls to scrambling-like-a-goat hard, here's nine to get you started.  


Buffy May via Flickr.


An iconic walk in Wellington is Red Rocks, it's reasonably flat with great sea views the entire way — you can see the South Island on a really clear day. A short drive from Island Bay, this walk is a good option if you live in the city and don't want to venture too far out. To see the red rocks you'll have to walk for about an hour, but you can stop and turnaround at any point on the walk. If you feel like break or dip in the ocean, there are heaps of nice bays for swimming and picnics.  


Porirua City Council.


The Stairway to Heaven walk is a great option for those after something tough, at a total distance of 10 kilometres. The track begins at Paekakariki and takes you to Pukerua Bay, the trail runs high above State Highway 1 and the railway, reaching 220 metres above sea level (hence Stairway to Heaven name). With two swing bridges, heaps of surrounding forest and all-round great scenery this is a great walk to add to the list. It's a 30 to 40-minute drive up the west coast from the city.


Max Wax via Flickr.


A mere 40-minute drive from the city, Remutaka Forest Park has a great number of walks. From 30-minute light strolls to full day hikes, this is a great option if you need to escape the city and be amongst nature for a day. The Five Mile Loop track is a solid four-hour walk, so bring your backpack with water, snacks and a packed lunch for this one — why not take your time and enjoy the beautiful forest.


Virgini Mcmillian via Flickr.


Pencarrow Lighthouse is a great walk (or bike ride), it's about a 30-minute drive from Wellington CBD. The drive takes you through Petone, Eastbourne and then along the coast (the drive is really scenic). If walking isn't your thing, rent a bike out. There is a bike rental shop near the car park. Be warned it does get quite windy, so you may have to get off and walk at points. The walk itself is about one and half to two hours to the lighthouse, but it's definitely worth it. Stop for an ice cream (or a drink) in Eastbourne on the way home. 


Rosino via Flickr.


If you're based in Lower or Upper Hutt (or that general area), Belmont Regional Park is an underrated walking destination. A big park, with many different walking tracks. The Kilmister Track is a good option if you're into walking for the views, once at the top you can see across Porirua and Lower Hutt. Or if climbing hills isn't for you, there are lots of easier track options.


Department of Conservation.


Makara is the place to go if you're after a rugged, coastal (and very scenic) day out. About a 45-minute drive from the city, take a packed lunch or buy something on your way. Typical to the west coast, Makara is a rocky beach. So no need to worry about getting sand absolutely everywhere. There's a walking track along the bottom, if you're after a very easy 20-minute stroll. Or you can walk to the top of the hill for amazing views of the coastline and South Island. From there, you can keep going along the ridgeline to the wind turbines.


Wellington City Council.


If you don't have a car but want to go for a walk, catch the bus (or walk) to the Polhill Reserve. Here you will find the Brooklyn Wind Turbine and spectacular views of the city (if it's a clear, sunny day). If you're feeling extra outdoorsy, if you carry on walking along the top you will end up at the Red Rocks trail. 


Capture Studios.


Part of what makes Wellington so beautiful is the Town Belt, the wooded hills which encircle the city. The Mount Victoria Loop is a great way to explore a small part of it. The 4.7 kilometre track takes around about two and a half hours to complete and can be quite steep in places, but the tracks are usually well maintained by the council. The walk is great for a stroll but is also used by runners and mountain bikers so keep an eye out for other people using the trail. Dogs are permitted if on leads, and obviously you are expected to clean up after them.



Perhaps one of Wellington's more perilous walks, The Skyline Walkway is nonetheless one of the most worthwhile. The 12 kilometre walk will take you around five hours to complete on a good day but the weather can play a major factor in how fast you can complete it. You will be very exposed to the elements up on the ridges, but the height is what makes this walk so rewarding. On a good day you will be able to view the Kaikoura ranges, the Marlborough Sounds, Wellington city and harbour, and the Tararua and Orongorongo ranges. Be prepared with warm clothes, strong footwear, food and water.


Published on October 02, 2018 by Aimee Dykstra

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