New Zealand is a hiker’s paradise, and Wellington is no different. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned trekker, there are various trails in and around the region that are worth exploring. Here are some of the best tracks you’ll find within the Kiwi capital’s vicinity.
City to Sea Walkway
For those with a good fitness level, this 12-kilometre (7.5-mile) urban trail will take 6-7 hours to complete. The City to Sea Walkway starts near Parliament, right at the heart of Wellington city, and finishes in Island Bay. Places you’ll pass by include the Botanic Garden, Te Aro Valley, and several Town Belt reserves.
Rimutaka Rail Trail
The Rimutaka Rail Trail is an 18-kilometre (11.2-mile) track that starts in Kaitoke, at the end of the Hutt Valley river, and ends at the Cross Creek in Wairarapa. It’s very popular with cyclists, hikers and runners, and comprises a mix of scenic sights, restored bridges and historic tunnels.
Within a 30-minute drive from Wellington city, you’ll find Makara Beach. The 6-kilometre (3.7-mile) loop around Makara Walkway is one of the three hiking spots at the Meridian West Wind Recreation Area. Once you’ve completed this track, consider exploring the others – you’ll get a good view of the windmills in action if you stick around.
This is the most popular track at the Rimutaka Forest. It starts at Catchpool Valley, south of Wainuiomata, and ends at the Orongorongo Valley. A well-graded forested trail, with a 5.2-kilometre (3.2-mile) one-way distance, makes the Orongorongo Track suitable for both beginner and advanced trekkers. It will take someone with a good fitness level approximately 1-2 hours to complete, and you’ll pass along various rivers and native plants.
If you want to go further afield than the Orongorongo Track, walk another 10 minutes to get to Butcher Track. From there, it follows its namesake, Butcher Stream – covering approximately 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) in distance. On this route, you’ll get to experience some stunning views of the Wellington Harbour. If you want to do a complete 12-kilometre (7.5-mile) loop, just head up north on the Cattle Ridge Track to return to your starting point.
You’ll find this walk at Porirua, a city in the Wellington region. The Wairaka Walkway is a 9.2-kilometre (5.7-mile) coastal trek going from Pukerua Bay to Moana Road, Plimmerton. This hike is best on a low tide – you may need to climb over some rocks if the tide is full. The walk itself is not too difficult, but an entire loop could take a full day to complete. On a clear day, picturesque vistas will accompany you all around – you’ll be able to see Kapiti Island, Mana Island and parts of the South Island too.
Pencarrow Coastal Trail
A popular trail for hikers and cyclists alike, the Pencarrow Coastal Trail showcases some of the best sites in the Hutt Valley region. The main walk, with a 16-kilometre return distance, takes you along a gravel road that goes up to New Zealand’s first lighthouse. Hikers who want to take things up a notch can head past the Pencarrow Lighthouse and onto the nearby wetlands.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.