Across the bay from New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, are the rolling green hills of Upper Hutt. This greater Wellington suburb 30km (18.6 miles) north of the city centre is surrounded by native bush, forest-clad hills and the Hutt River. So if you want to escape the city, pull on your best walking shoes and head out on one of these walks.
Mount Climie Ridge is part of the Remutaka Range that can be seen from Wellington’s city centre. The 12-kilometre (7.5-mile) return track to reach the summit follows a steep section through tree ferns in the lower forest and red and silver beech trees in the higher sections. At the foothills of Mount Climie is the Tunnel Gully Recreation Area, a great place for picnicking and mountain-biking. Take the 3km (1.8-mile) return tunnel track and explore the now disused Mangaroa Tunnel, an old railway tunnel built between 1875 and 1877.
Upper Hutt’s Remutaka Hill is part of the popular Remutaka cycle track. For those who don’t have a lot of time but still want a short walk for scenic views head for the Remutaka Trig Track to the summit of Remutaka Hill. This 30-minute walk offering spectacular views of Upper Hutt Valley and Wairarapa can be reached from the parking lot on State Highway 2. For those with more time, do the Remutaka Rail Trail, a 17-kilometre (10.5-mile) track that passes through the Summit Tunnel and offers many places to stop and swim along the Pakuratahi River.