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With hundreds of trails ranging from walking, to biking, to riding, and from strolling, to running or trotting, there’s a trail for everyone in the Wellington region. Read on to find your trails personality, chuck on some active wear and some sunscreen, fill up your water bottle and go find your kind of wild in the Wellington region.
You: Want to go on a walk with the whole family, but you have a pram, 20 carry-bags and multiple kids of varying ages in tow. And they need to burn off energy now.
We suggest: The Southern Walkway, which can be accessed from various locations around the city, making it easy for people with little ones to hop in and out of this trail as they please. It starts in Wellington's CBD and follows the Town Belt through some of the city's best loved parks and suburbs, all the way to Island Bay on the rugged South Coast. Seating and picnic spots are available but do note that whilst there are no toilets along this trail, you will pass by a number of suburbs with facilities nearby. Additionally, basic supplies can be purchased from Courtenay Place, Oriental Parade and Island Bay before setting off, in case you forgot the wet wipes, ran out of nappies or need a bag of lollies as a reward for a walk well done!
You: Can’t say no to a spectacular view and/or want to show off the region’s stunning vistas to visiting out-of-towners (and low-key boast how you get to live here all year round).
We suggest: The Escarpment Track – you can’t get any better than the spectacular views of Kāpiti Island from high above the Kāpiti Coastline. One of the region’s finest walking experiences, the trail is 10km and runs from Paekakariki to Pukerua Bay and can be done in either direction. Expect steep hill climbs (you’ll scale around 2,000 steps!), swing bridges and narrow pathways and, of course, jaw-dropping views the whole way along. Closer to Wellington, may we also recommend one of the capital’s premier trails, the Skyline Track, a journey along the city’s highest ridgelines and peaks from Makara Peak all the way to Mount Kaukau. This trail boasts skyward views acrossnearly all of the Wellington region. Need more views? Check out our Top 5 Trails with a view!
You: Want to go for a walk, but don’t really want to overexert yourself.
We suggest: Getting active on the Brooklyn Wind Turbine and Polhill Reserve – there are several easy options, where you can take it all at your own pace. Wind your way from Aro Valley or Highbury up through Polhill Reserve to the iconic Brooklyn wind turbine and on to Te Kopahou Reserve on the rugged South Coast. You’ll skim past the boundary of Zealandia eco-sanctuary – an urban conservation brimming with protected native flora and fauna – take in stunning views across the Wellington region and as far as the South Island, and encounter seal colonies in their natural habitat.
You: Can’t say no to a challenge and scoff at the likes of outdoor super humans such as Bear Gryllis (whilst secretly wanting to be him).
We suggest: Getting your Gryllis on at the Puke Ariki (or ‘The Place of Leaders’) trail, which traverses the length of Belmont Regional Park, offering a unique and varied half-day journey across some of the region’s most beautiful, and at times rugged, terrain. Suitable for both mountain bikers and walkers, this 21.8km, 7-8 hour-long, advanced walking track weaves along 4WD tracks, through open grass pastures and farmland, meanders along native bush-clad trails, and will get you scrambling up steep hillsides. If you like a bit of a challenge, search for trails of varying levels and difficulties in the Wellington region here.
You: Want to go on a walk with your furry friend in dog form (clarification: your furry friend is in dog form, not you).
We suggest: The doggo-friendly Northern Walkway, where doggies are welcome to join you (on leash) on the half-day journey along the city’s outer Green Belt, from Johnsonville to the Botanic Gardens via Te Ahumairangi Hill (Tinakori Hill) and Mount Kaukau. Discover abandoned railway tunnels and explore the city’s oldest scenic reserve. There is also an off-leash exercise area at the top of Te Ahumairangi. Or hop out of the city and take a stroll along the banks of the Waikanae River on the Kāpiti Coast. It’s a flat and easy 10km walk or the trail can be broken down into small loop tracks. Check out more dog-friendly trails – and don’t forget to keep your dog on leashes at all times!
You: Want to hop on your bike and get some sweet air on the tracks – or simply want to take a leisurely cycle amongst Wellington’s native flora and fauna.
We suggest: Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park, a world-class park with more than 40 mountain biking trails set amongst 250 hectares of spectacular native bush and birdlife – this is a destination for all mountain biking enthusiasts. The dedicated, expertly-designed tracks weave their way around Makara Peak and offer stunning 360-degree views from Kāpiti to the South Island. Descend all the way from the top on easy, intermediate or expert trails, or for a longer experience, link to Skyline or Wrights Hill trails. There’s a bike track for everyone around the region, so pop your helmet on, hop on your bike, and check out the top five trails for mountain biking.
To find more trails suited to your particular trails personality, check out the hundreds of trails around the Wellington region here.