Be prepared for all conditions
Your safety is your responsibility. Remember these five simple rules before you set off on your adventure.
- Know your limits and choose a trail that matches your skill or fitness level. Read about the trail grading system and find a trail to suit your walking or mountain biking ability.
- Plan your trip before you set off. Most trails are clearly marked but it’s a good idea to check this website for maps and track details before you go.
- Tell someone where you’re going. Leave your trip details with a trusted contact, or log them on Adventure Smart.
- Take enough clothing, sun protection, tools, phone, maps, food and water for the whole trip, as well as a first aid kit.
- Weather can change quickly in the Wellington region. Get an up-to-date weather report from MetService before you go.
For more information, read the Department of Conservation’s know before you go guides.
Respect the environment — Kaitiakitanga
Wellingtonians love nature, and numerous volunteer-led initiatives have helped our plant and bird populations soar. You can help too by following these simple rules:
- Leave only tracks, foot and hoof prints. Don’t litter — take rubbish and dog waste home with you.
- Follow fire, animal and other restrictions for each trail.
- Clean your bike and boots to avoid spreading weeds.
- Respect wildlife and farm animals.
- Stay away from bird nesting areas on beaches — they are often hard to spot. If there are DOC or other notices about nesting birds, stay away from the area. If in doubt stay below the high tide mark.
- Report conservation emergencies to the Department of Conservation (DOC) on 0800 DOC HOT. Dial 111 in an emergency or contact a park ranger.
- Take injured wildlife to The Nest — Te Kohanga at Wellington Zoo, or phone 04 381 6755 for advice.
- Follow the Taika Promise — Care for People and Place, whenever you are on Wellington trails.
- Consider joining a local environmental project. You can search the DOC volunteer activities database to find a group near you.
Respect the trail and other trail users
We can all keep safe and have fun on our trails if we stick to a few simple rules:
- Where a trail/track is prioritised for a type of recreational use please respect this. Always be aware and respectful of other trail users.
- Only move at a speed that is safe for you and others, and stop to let others pass if you need to.
- If you’re mountain biking:
- Ride do not slide on bike trails — avoid skidding and damaging the trail.
- Do not cut corners or create new lines.
- Keep left where possible on two-way trails and fire roads.
- Downhill riders must give way to uphill riders.
- Ride the tracks in the designated direction only.
- Check jumps and landing areas before use.
- Ensure your bike is well maintained.
- Wear a helmet and all other necessary protective equipment.
- Read the Department of Conservation Mountain Bikers Code.
- Give way to horses on trails (“wheels give way to heels”).
- If you meet a horse and rider on a trail, please call out ‘hello’ or ‘bike’. On shared trails, be aware of your speed and sight lines, especially approaching from the rear as horses cannot always hear bikes or people until they are too close, causing them to kick. Try to remain visible to the horses at all times.
- Keep dogs under control and on a lead around horses and bikes.
- Where trails lead to beaches, be considerate of other users and clean up horse manure. Stay off sand dunes and never use a public area to clean out your horse float or truck.
Dogs on trails
Keep dogs on lead at all times in all public spaces, parks and trails. This is especially important during summer in areas where native birds are often on the ground.
Use the designated dog exercise areas, and keep your dog under control if off-lead.
Some beaches allow dogs off-lead in winter months outside of daylight saving, but they must be on-lead during daylight saving time in summer. Check each beach for their dog access rules. If in doubt keep dogs on-lead.
Dogs are not allowed on some trails for safety, and to protect wildlife and livestock.
E-bikes on trails
The Wellington region welcomes pedal-assisted e-bikes (not throttle-powered) on public bike trails.
Wellington City Council restricts e-bike access on specific trails, you can find information on Page 19, Schedule C of the Open Space Access Plan.