Top trails in Wellington city
If you’re keen to explore some of Wellington’s extensive network of trails and tracks with friends and/or whānau then check out these must-try options
Red Rocks Coastal Track
Grab your walking shoes, bike or four-wheel drive and explore the wildest part of Wellington’s rugged south coast.
Known as one of the capital’s most iconic walks, follow the easy flat track along the rugged shoreline from the Owhiro Bay Quarry around to Red Rocks, an area of national significance with fascinating geology and Māori history.
Check out the red-coloured rocks that were formed 200 million years ago as you go, then just a little further along at Sinclair Head meet a colony of fur seals in their natural habitat during the winter months.
The Southern Walkway is beloved to Wellington locals and visitors alike. Starting in Wellington’s CBD on Oriental Parade and following the Town Belt through some of the city’s best loved parks and suburbs, the Southern Walkway winds all the way to Island Bay.
There’s view and sights all along the way: take in the panoramic views of the city from the top of Mt Vic (plus there are some great Mountain Biking trails there), see famous film locations from The Lord of the Rings, traverse suburbs on urban bush trails to arrive at the wild grandeur of the South Coast.
One of Wellington’s premier trails, the Skyline Walkway is a journey along Wellington’s highest ridgelines and peaks, from Makara Peak, past Mount Kaukau to Johnsonville. The historical Skyline Walkway trail makes the perfect adventure either on bike or on foot and in either direction, and you can customise your experience with the many starting and exits points.
This trail involves some challenging steep terrain, but you’ll be rewarded for your effort with panorama views across the Wellington region, and it’s easy to take a bus or train back to the city afterwards.
Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park
A world-class park offering more than 40 mountain biking trails set amongst 250 hectares of spectacular native bush, Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park is a destination for all mountain biking enthusiasts. With expertly-designed tracks weaving their way around Makara Peak, this mountain bike park offers something for everyone – from beginners through to experts and all family members. Enjoy stunning views over the suburb of Karori, central Wellington, and as far as the South Island.
Walking option: Snake Charmer is the main 4WD access road to the summit of Makara Peak so you can walk this – just make sure you keep an eye out for any 4WDs coming up or bikers. The view at the summit will be worth the walk!
Enjoy sweeping views of Wellington Harbour and the south coast and stroll through spectacular native bush on the Eastern Walkway.
You can start at Tarakena Bay and follow the route to Pass of Branda in Seatoun or walk it in reverse, or do a loop by following the flat pathway along the coastline back to your starting point.
Whatever route you take, you’ll come across Māori historical sites and learn about the geology and local history of the Miramar peninsula.
Take a walk through original native forest, see thriving New Zealand natural plants and wildlife, check out an 800-year-old rimu tree, enjoy a picnic and play pooh sticks in the stream.
You can choose from a variety of walks from 10 minutes to 2.5hrs long in New Zealand’s only botanic garden dedicated solely to native plants.
Ōtari-Wilton’s Bush, with its 100 hectares of native forest and five hectares of plant collections, is guaranteed to keep the entire family entertained.