Camp and Tramp

If you are looking to do some camping and relish a nice walk, check out these recommendations for trails in and around the Wellington region.

Matiu/Somes Island

This predator-free island reserve is slap-bang in the middle of Wellington harbour and has a rich multicultural history and rare native wildlife. Where else can you camp among the remnants of the quarantine station and wartime internment camp?

You can get to Matiu/Somes Island on the scheduled ferry service that runs between Queens Wharf and Days Bay seven days a week. Discover native wildlife, visit the lighthouse and WWII bunkers for a journey back in time and meet the local sheep on the island’s farm, with this variety there is something to intrigue everyone.

Staying overnight offers a unique way to explore the island with fewer visitors, and a chance to see nocturnal native wildlife such as tuatara, giant weta and little penguins.

All accommodation on the island must be booked before arrival via doc.govt.nz.

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Matiu Somes Island lighthouse
Putangirua Pinnacles
Putangirua Pinnacles track
The Putangirua Pinnacles Wairarapa

Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve

Discover earth pillar formations that are some of the best in New Zealand! Put on your sturdy walking shoes and explore the surrounding coastal area, whether on a day trip or camping with the family.

The campsite is halfway between Cape Palliser and Lake Ferry and is located beside the Putangirua Stream with stunning views of Cook Strait and a pebbly beach across the road. You can easily walk from here to the impressive Putangirua Pinnacles or drive to the seal colony near Cape Palliser Lighthouse. Stock up on supplies in Martinborough or Featherston en route.

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Gentle Annie Track

Gentle by name, gentle by nature, Gentle Annie Track is an easy 3-4 hour scenic walk that showcases the best of Tararua Forest Park in the Wairarapa region.

Take in stunning native forests, cross boardwalks through the heathland of Pig Flat, then stop to rest at Mountain House Shelter, nestled among some of the most stunning silver beech forest in the Greater Wellington region. For fitter visitors, the tramp beyond Mountain House Shelter follows the Mount Holdsworth Track, climbing further to Powell Hut – the view of High Ridge and Totara Flats far below once you reach the top is well worth the trek!

Some DOC huts and campsites are secured by first in, first served, others you need to pre-book via the DOC website

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Gentle Annie man walking trail
Orongorongo Track trampers

Orongorongo Walking Track

The Orongorongo track, located in Catchpool Valley and Orongorongo Valley, is the most popular in Remutaka Forest Park. It’s an easy grade and makes for a pleasant day trip to the Orongorongo Valley and back to the Catchpool car park.

There’s also access through different bush types to longer tramps via the Orongorongo Valley. Catchpool Valley has a well-maintain campground in close reach of tracks, picnic sites and swimming spots in Catchpool and Grace’s streams. You can also hire your own DOC hut in the Orongorongo Valley - huts are locked and must be booked online, in advance. For more information on camping fees and huts, contact the Wellington Visitor Centre on 04 384 7770, [email protected] or visit doc.govt.nz.

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Remutaka Cycle Trail

Calling all cyclists! Starting on Wellington’s doorstep, this trail winds through the bush-clad Remutaka Range, passing through tunnels on an old rail trail, and pops out in the Wairarapa valley. It then skirts around the wild southern coast, past the mouth of the Orongorongo River and back to Wellington Harbour. There is the option to exit at Coast Road. What better way to take in the region’s masterful scenery?

Basic camping is available at along the Remutaka Rail Trail at Ladle Bend and Summit recreation area (no need to book), and at Corner Creek near the start of the coastal section of trail. Other accommodation options can be found here.

NOTE: Fees will vary at some campsites. For prices at individual campsites, go to doc.govt.nz/campsites.

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Remutaka Cycle Trail and Hutt River Trail_ people mountain biking
Remutaka Cycle Trail_ two people biking over bridge
Remutaka Cycle Trail_people mountain biking Cape Palliser

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