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Top 5 trails for runners

Whether it’s an early morning run to set you up for the day, a post-work run to clear your mind or a weekend run with your mates, Wellington’s got some epic trails for runners. Put on your running shoes, download a good podcast and get out on a run on one of Wellington’s top five trails.

1. Skyline Trail

Bring your running shoes and stamina to experience Skyline, one of Wellington’s premier trails. The Skyline trail makes the perfect adventure for passionate trail runners. The terrain can be challenging and exposed in places, with plenty of steep undulations, but you’ll be rewarded with panorama views across the Wellington region. You can complete the journey in both directions and there’s great bus and train links to get you to and from the trail.

running skyline trail Photo credit: Jay French

2. Brooklyn Wind Turbine and Polhill Reserve

The perfect run when you’re staying at the Cuba Street end of town, the track up to the Brooklyn Wind Turbine has a challenging mix of uphill and downhill. Wind your way up through Polhill Reserve to the iconic Brooklyn Wind Turbine, passing by the boundary of Zealandia eco-sanctuary. Once you get to the top you’ll be rewarded with incredible panoramic views over Wellington and over the Cook Strait to the South Island. 

running fenceline Photo credit: Jay French

3. Rangituhi / Colonial Knob

Te Ara a Rangituhi is a huge reserve in Porirua set on 110 hectares of farmland slowly regenerating into indigenous vegetation and features a range of trails, including the Te Ara Utiwai Track. Enjoy the gentle climb to the Rangituhi Lookout, as you run through stunning native bush. If you’re feeling keen, the trail connects with the Colonial Knob Walkway to form an 8km circuit.

views colonial knob Photo credit: Jay French

4. Waikanae River Trail

Take a run along the banks of the Waikanae River on the Kāpiti Coast. The Waikanae River meanders through a diverse landscape – from the ranges, through alluvial plans, coastal dunes and down to the sea. It’s a flat and easy 10km run and in the warmer months there’s always the option to stop and take a dip in the river or the surf of the sea. Afterwards, reward yourself at one of the many local cafés.

waikanae river trail 1
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5. Hutt River Trail

Follow the picturesque Hutt River all the way from the edge of Wellington Harbour at Petone to Upper Hutt, on this easy and well-maintained trail (the first section of the Remutaka Cycle Trail). You’ll run through lush parks and golf courses, pass by historic sites and even a couple of The Lord of the Rings filming locations. The Hutt River Trail is 29km in length and can be done all in one go or broken up into shorter loops; a train service runs the length of the trail for easy transport to and from the trail.

hutt river trail Photo credit: Jay French