Windless Wellington Walks
Are you still wanting to hit the trails but wanting a bit more shelter on windy or wintery days? We’ve picked out a selection of the region’s best trails that protect you from the elements and offer equally spectacular views and scenery.
Hidden away in the Hutt Valley, Tane’s Track is a leisurely walk next to Tunnel Gully in the Pakuratahi Forest. Crossing the old Remutaka railway line, up Mount Climie and back again, the trail hosts historic and nature sites, including Collins Stream and waterfall, and the former worker campsite of the Mangaroa Railway Tunnel. This walk is about 2.3km in length, dog-friendly, protects its visitors from the Southerlies and gives you the opportunity to walk through an old railway tunnel (BYO torch).
Got kids interested in native flora and fauna? Or perhaps want to learn more yourself? Look no further than Otari-Wilton’s bush, the only botanic garden in New Zealand whose sole focus is helping native plants thrive. The flat pathway along the bottom section of the Circular Walk is suitable for prams and young kids, meaning you can bring the whole family along (park at the Churchill Drive car park).
For the more intrepid, take the Blue Trail to find the 800-year-old Rimu Tree. There are coin operated gas barbeques for a picnic on the Troop Lawn. Note – the barbeques are not available for public use until we move to Alert Level 1. Just a 15-minute drive from the central city, this trail may just become your next go to on a nice day, this whole area is very sheltered even in high winds.
East Harbour Regional Park - Northern Forest
Away from the city, above Eastbourne in East Harbour Regional Park is Wellington’s Northern Forest. The forest hosts a range of tracks across the area of different lengths and abilities, with picnic and lookout areas, and streams along the way. Trampers and mountain bikers alike also explore the forest, being a popular spot sheltered from the gales of Wellington Harbor. The trail features many native bush species with beech and rata forest, and valley floors growing pukatea and nikau palms. A fine spot to spend a day. Choose your adventure from: Main Ridge Track, Kereru Track, Puriri Track, Howard Road Track, Chevoit Road Track, MacKenzie Road Track, Muritai Park Track, Bus Barn Track and Kowhai Street Track that leads to the lovely Butterfly Creek.
Well known for its mountain biking and ultra-marathon challenges, this course runs from Karapoti Gorge to the Atakarawa Ranges - and is for walkers too! The Karapoti Course is a 20km taster of the gruelling popular 50km challenge through Valley View Forest. This course can only be accessed during weekends and makes an adventurous outing for those wanting a chance to experience the challenging terrain, but with only one hill, half the distance, and sheltered from Wellington’s winds, especially in the lush picturesque valley gorge. While you are there check out the delightful Cannon Point Walkway.
Polhill Reserve Loop
This sheltered bush reserve guides the way up from Aro Valley to Brooklyn’s famous wind turbine and runs alongside Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne ecosanctuary. Trails within the reserve host stunning views across the Wellington region, and around to the peaks of the South Island and are some of the best inner-city bush trails. The loop up through native bush hosts an uphill challenge but is surprisingly sheltered from the wind until you reach the peak. Embark on a full day’s adventure by linking onto other trails nearby or take it one loop at a time. Don’t forget to stop for a well-earned culinary adventure in either Brooklyn or Aro Valley.
Te Whiti Riser
One of the region’s newest and most accessible walks, Te Whiti Riser follows a gentle easy gradient from Te Whiti Park to the top of the Eastern Hutt Hills. This wide well-formed trail has become a popular multi-purpose recreational track for walking and biking locals and visitors of all ages. The trail links up to other popular spots, including the extensive Waiu Park trail network and East Harbour Regional Park making it a great place to spend your weekend exploring, sheltered from the wind. Enjoy a tasty treat in Petone, Hutt City or Wainuiomata the choice is endless.