Know before you go
Wellington's regional trails are shared by thousands, so we all need to do our small bit to keep our trails safe and protect our precious environment.
Respect the environment – Kaitiakitanga
Wellingtonians are passionate restorers of the region’s native flora and fauna and countless volunteer-led initiatives have helped our plant and bird populations soar. It’s easy for us all to support these initiatives by following just a few simple rules:
- Don’t litter. Take rubbish and dog waste home with you. Leave only tracks, foot and hoof prints.
- Adhere to fire, animal and other restrictions listed for each trail.
- Respect wildlife and farm animals.
- Clean your bike and boots to avoid spreading weeds.
- Report conservation emergencies to the Department of Conservation (DOC) on 0800 DOC HOT.
- Dial 111 in an emergency or contact a park ranger.
- Take injured wildlife to The Nest – Te Kohanga at Wellington Zoo, or phone 04 381 6755 for advice.
- Stay away from bird nesting areas on beaches. They are often hard to spot. If there are DOC or other notices about nesting birds, stay away from the area. If in doubt stay below the high tide mark.
- Please subscribe to the Taika Promise - Care for People and Place, whenever you are on the Wellington Regional Trails. Watch the video here: tiakinewzealand.com
To get involved with a local environmental project, find a group at Nature Space. You can also identify and share the living things you find on your next trail adventure at iNaturalist NZ, or by downloading the iNaturalist app on Google Play or the App Store.
Respect the trail and other trail users
It’s easy for everyone to keep safe and have fun on our trails if we stick to a few simple rules:
- Where a trail/track is prioritised for a particular type of recreational use please respect this. Always be aware and respectful of other trail users.
- Only move at a speed that is safe for you and others. Be prepared to stop and let others pass.
- Ride do not slide on bike trails – avoid skidding and damaging the trail.
- Do not cut corners or create new lines.
- Keep left where possible on two-way trails and fire roads.
- Downhill riders must give way to uphill riders.
- Ride the tracks in the designated direction only.
- Check jumps and landing areas before use.
- Ensure your bike is well maintained.
- Wear a helmet and all other necessary protective equipment.
- Give way to horses on trails ("wheels give way to heels"). If you meet a horse and rider on a trail, please call out ‘hello’ or ‘bike’. On shared trails, be aware of your speed and sight lines, especially approaching from the rear as horses cannot always hear bikes or people until they are too close, causing them to kick. Try to remain visible to the horses at all times.
- Keep dogs under control and on a lead around horses and bikes.
- Where trails lead to beaches, be considerate of other users and clean up horse manure. Stay off sand dunes and never use a public area to clean out your horse float or truck.
For more information, read the Department of Conservation Mountain Bikers Code.
Dogs on trails
Keep dogs on lead at all times in all public spaces, parks and trails. This is especially important during summer in areas where native birds often on the ground.
Use the designated dog exercise areas, keeping control of your dog when they’re off-lead.
Some beaches allow dogs off-lead in winter months outside of daylight saving, but they must be on-lead during daylight saving time in summer. Check each beach for their dog access rules. If in doubt keep dogs on-lead.
Please respect that some trails are not accessible to dogs at all due to safety, protecting wildlife and livestock.
Be prepared for all conditions
Your safety is your responsibility. Before you set off, remember these five simple rules:
- Know your limits and and choose a trail that matches your skill or fitness level. Read about our trail grading systems and find a nearby trail to suit your walking or mountain biking ability.
- Plan your trip before you set off. Most of the trails are clearly marked but it’s a good idea to check our website for maps and track details before you go.
- Tell someone where you’re going. Leave your trip details with a trusted contact, or log them on AdventureSmart.org.nz.
- Take enough clothing, sun protection, tools, phone, maps, food and water for the whole trip, as well as a first aid kit.
- Get an up-to-date weather report from Metservice.com before setting off. It can change quickly in the Wellington region.
For more information, read the Department of Conservation know before you go guides.