Walks and Hikes in Wellington
What’s a free thing to do in Wellington and one of the best ways to immerse in the scenery? Walking! In the capital city of one of the world’s most “outdoorsy” countries, of course, you can find many walks to see the best that Wellington has to offer. Walk in the bush of the town belt or travel further afield to find amazing coastal walks or walk in forest parks. In this list of walks in Wellington, we’ll give you a few city walk highlights, as well as walks that are a short drive from Wellington that are well worth getting to!
For more things to do in Wellington in between all the hiking, see these 14 Free or Cheap Things to do in Wellington, as well as these 10 Wellington Must-Dos. Plus, find a place to stay in The 50 Best Accommodations in Wellington.
1. Mt Victoria (2h30min Loop)
The most popular walk to do from Wellington City has to be Mt Victoria and for good reasons! The views are picture-perfect from 196m (643ft) high at the summit and are essential for any Wellington visit. Although there is a whole loop walk available, you can walk straight to the summit from Majoribanks Street which will be much shorter. Hell, you can even drive to the summit on the Lookout Road!
Location: Start the walk from Charles Plimmer Park at the top of Majoribanks Street. Take the Hataitai to City Walkway to the Southern Walkway and follow signs to the Mt Victoria Summit.
2. Red Rocks Walkway (40 Minutes One Way)
Follow the rugged coastline steeped in fascinating geology (yes, there are red-coloured rocks) and wildlife! Seals can be spotted along the coast from April to October. Check out this article for more wildlife experiences in Wellington!
Location: Red Rocks Reserve, Owhiro Bay. To get there by bus, take the Number 1 bus to Island Bay. Get off at the last stop and walk about 2km (1.2 miles) via Owhiro Bay Parade to the start of the Red Rocks Walkway.
3. Botanic Garden (10 Minutes – 1 Hour One Way)
The Wellington Botanic Garden spans 25 hectares (62 acres) in the middle of Wellington city packed with walkways! Bushwalks, garden walks, sculpture walks and more can be experienced Wellington’s most popular city park. Walking times are various as most people find themselves drifting between different walkways. Maps are available at the Botanic Garden entrances. It’s one of the excellent free things to do in Wellington!
Location: Access is via Glenmore Street, Salamanca Road, Upland Road and the Cable Car.
4. Taua Tapu Track (40 Minutes One Way)
If you want to escape the city and check out some of the cool little suburbs of Wellington, check out the Taua Tapu Track in Plimmerton. The track in the hills of the suburb takes you through native forest to a lookout overlooking the coast, Mana Island and Plimmerton. Walk through the streets of Plimmerton and back down to the coast to make a loop out of the track (adding an extra 20 minutes to your walk). See more things to do around the Porirua area here.
Location: Plimmerton is 30 minutes drive from Wellington City Centre up State Highway 1. Public transport is available. The track starts from Motuhara Road just off Steyne Avenue.
5. Makara Loop Walk (1-2 Hours Loop)
Some of the best Wellington coastal scenery can be viewed from the Makara Loop Walk. Starting from Maraka Beach, follow the track up onto the clifftops where you’ll see World War 2 gun emplacements, as well as a wind farm.
Location: 20 minutes drive from Wellington City. Follow Makara Road all the way to the end where the track starts on Makara Beach.
6. Skyline Walkway (5 Hours One Way)
For something more adventurous yet still close to Wellington City, tackle the Skyline Walkway. This 12km (7.5-mile) walkway follows the hills of the outer Green Belt with a mix of rural, city and coastal landscapes. On a clear day, you can even see the mountains of the South Island!
Location: Start from either Old Coach Road in Johnsonville or Makara Saddle in Karori.
7. Te Ahumairangi Hill (1-2 Hours Loop)
Have you not had enough of those city views yet? Well, here’s one more excellent viewpoint worth walking to. Te Ahumairangi Hill (formerly Tinakori Hill) has two loop walks, the Elephant Rock Loop (2 hours) and the Stellin Loop Walk (1h30min).
Location: The Elephant Loop Walk starts from Scout Hall on Grant Road, Thorndon. The Stellin Loop Walk starts from the Stellin Memorial Park.
8. Northern Walkway (4 Hours One Way)
A great option to mix with a visit to the Botanic Garden, the Northern Walkway gives outstanding views of Wellington City, the harbour, surrounding mountains and much more! The walk also encompasses the Te Ahumairangi Hill (see above).
Location: Start the walk from either Truscott Avenue in Johnsonville or top of the Cable Car in Upland Road, Kelburn.
9. Southern Walkway (4-5 Hours One Way)
Stretching between Oriental Bay and Island Bay, the Southern Walkway is a great walk accessible from the city. The 11km (6.8-mile) walk gives consistently great views of the city, coastline and forest of the Town Belt. Follow the pink bollards and signs to keep you on the right track.
Location: From Oriental Parade, find the walk signs starting from the intersection of Oriental Parade and Carlton Gore Road. From Island Bay, start the walk at Shorland Park.
10. Orongorongo Track (1-2 Hour One Way)
One of the most popular trails in the Remutaka Forest Park (formerly known as the Rimutaka Forest Park), the Orongorongo Track is a 5km (3 miles) trail taking you through forest and along riversides. If it doesn’t sound like it’s for you, then check out all the other walks available in the Remutaka Forest Park, most of which start from the Catchpool Valley car park. Easy!
Location: 40 minutes drive from Wellington city. Just south of Wainuiomata. Hikes start from the Catchpool Valley.