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7 Apr 2017 • 4 Comments
While it’s almost impossible to get bored of the wide, pine-lined paths and sweeping city views on offer from Mt Victoria, Wellingtonians are truly spoiled for choice when it comes to getting into the great outdoors, and so we are here from Wellington Wanders to bring a few more of the city’s best hidden gems to your attention.
Thorndon’s answer to Mount Victoria, Te Ahumairangi Hill rises above the northern end of the city with comparably impressive views across the harbour. The hill is littered with tracks winding their way around and up to the various viewpoints. Aside from the lovely pine, macrocarpa and native bush, there are also some exciting hidden features, including the Thomas tunnel and a historical quarry site. The various tracks provide plenty of walks of varying lengths, while a direct trip up and down will take roughly an hour and a half.
There are a number of access points around Thorndon, Northland, and Wadestown. If you are coming from the city, the easiest options are either from St Mary’s Street off Tinakori Road, or the Grant Road/Wadestown Road entry near the top of Molesworth St.
Polhill Reserve is one of those great walks where you feel like you are miles from the city, despite actually being quite close. Accessed from Aro St in Aro Valley, the main loop track twists its way uphill through regenerating native bush, including mahoe, kawakawa and matipo, which provide a sun-speckled canopy over most of the track. The green corridor has occasional breaks, at which point you are treated to arguably the best views across the city and harbour in all of Wellington.
While there are some great options for longer walks if you’re that way inclined (the Brooklyn Wind Turbine and the Te Kopahou Reserve follow on nicely), the natural turning point is at the gun emplacements at the top of the hill, which will result in a comfortable 2-3 hour return walk.
Point Dorset Reserve is a lovely walkway steeped in history, having previously been both a pā site and military establishment. There’s little doubt why, as this stunning spot has extensive 270 degree views across the Wellington Harbour entrance and Cook Strait. The walk itself is reasonably leisurely, although is very exposed and requires some caution on windy days. Starting at Seatoun School, follow the track between the school buildings and fields up onto the ridge. From there it’s just a matter of exploring the reserve, with various paths along the ridgeline to the point and down to Breaker Bay. Allow at least an hour to explore – it’s also a great spot to take a picnic on a nice day!
The reserve can be found at the far end of Seatoun, with the route 11 bus taking you almost directly there.
We love hearing about other people's favourite spots, so let us know where you love to walk in the comments below.
If you're after more inspiration for walks around the Wellington region, check out the Welly Walks app.