The City to Sea Walkway

March 25th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

City to Sea


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The City to Sea Walkway was the final walk of my summer of 13 big Wellington walks. Probably the most challenging as there are almost no flat parts to it, you go up and down almost a dozen times.

The official guide says this walk takes six hours but I managed to do it in just under three hours. Did this one solo as everyone else was busy so you go faster when not talking and walking! Got to listen to some the Economist podcasts until me headphones died.

Starts at the Bolton Street Cemetery and goes up into the Botanical Garden up to the Cable Car. Then down into Kelburn Park and through the Mount Street Cemetery at VUW. You then head along above the Terrace past Boyd Wilson Field and down into Aro Valley.

Then up through Tanera Park and the community gardens there passing into Central Park. You go up over the Renouf Tennis Centre and into Nairn Street Park and Prince of Wales Park. then through some town belt into McAlister Park .
After all the parks you hit the Berhampore Golf Course, then trek up from that to the Tawatawa Ridge and then mainly downhill until you hit the climb up to the Oku Street Reserve. From there you go down into Shorland Park in island Bay on the South coast.

It’s my favourite walkway as it just sneakily manages to link all these discrete parks together, while winding its way from the city to the South coast. Many great views to be enjoyed.

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Skyline Walkway

March 4th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Skyline


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The Skyline Walk is one of the best walks in Wellington as you get a near continual view of not just the city and harbour, but also of the Western coastline.

The 12 km walk starts at Johnsonville and finishes at the South end of Karori at the saddle of Makara Road.

There is an initial climb up to Mt Kaukau, but after that it is a fairly easy walk to Karori (with the exception of one further steep climb). Very well signposted and the track varies from 4WD paths to narrow goat like paths. Fun when someone comes the other way!

The continual views make this a great walk. Took just over three and a half hours.

This was walk no 11 of the 13 walks over summer. Just two to go.

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The fenceline walk

February 24th, 2013 at 1:32 pm by David Farrar

Fenceline


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An 8.5 km hike around the fenceline of the Karori Sanctuary, Zealandia. It has 460 metres of vertical elevation so is a good challenge. It is the same route as the annual gutbuster run.

We started at the Zealandia and climb up to the Brooklyn Wind Turbine. The odd flat piece, but mainly uphill.

From the wind turbine you continue along the fence towards Hawkins Hill but then veer back towards Karori. You think you do not have much more climbing to go, but actually the track drops down into a valley which then gives you another big climb up to Wrights Hill.

From Wrights Hill, it is mainly downhill. The track next to the fenceline is so steep at parts you are advised to use an alternate zigzag down, which we did.

Some great views, and a reasonable distance to go from Karori to Brooklyn and back.

Big ups to all the cyclists on the shared path. Everyone helpfully yells out that they are approaching you, what side of the path they are on, and how many of them there are.

If anyone knows what the berries are in one of the photos, feel free to comment.

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Makara

February 18th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Went to Makara on Sunday, to do the Makara loop walk. Been doing a largish walk ever Sunday over summer. Despite the fact I had Round the Bays in the morning, still did the walk in the afternoon – and very glad I did.

I haven’t been to Makara for years, so it was a good reason to head over.

The walk starts at the main beach and a fairly easy walk around a couple of bays, before the hill climb starts.

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It is a bit of a bitch of a climb as it is more straight up than zigzag. However there is a mixture of semi-flat spells and climbs, so overall quite achievable. And as you can see the views are worth it.

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The old gun batteries are now fenced off. This is a pity as I recall several fun teenage overnight parties held in them. The guns were never used and replaced during the war by the larger gun at Wrights Hill.

Just up from the gun batteries are the remains of Fort Opau, with some fascinating photos and histories. Around 60 soldiers lived up there.

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From the gun batteries, you get a great view of the wind turbines to the South.

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After Fort Opau, you hit the West Wind Recreation Area. The turbines are so much larger than the original Brooklyn one. And much more powerful. The Brooklyn one could power around 80 homes. The 622 West Wind turbines can power 71,000 homes, which happens to be the number of homes in Wellington City.

The historical display boards up there are fascinating. There used to be a settlement of around 20 houses built around the Post Office facilities up there.

Even if you are not into walking, you can drive to the West Wind area. A good place to take kids out to – great views, and some interesting history.

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After West Wind, you head down to Opau Bay. The start is through a nice pine forest, but most of it is down a very steep 4WD track. I pitied the fishermen walking up it!

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The return journey along the beach took longer than expected. There isn’t really a trail. The beach changes from sand, to small rocks, to larger rocks to huge rocks you have to climb over. Nothing too hard, but slow work in a hot sun. However the solitude and the views are worth it.

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A couple of families had trekked around and were having a great day of it. The water was actually quite warm we were told. I was very tempted to go in myself.

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And finally the end in sight. The only disappointment was we got back just after the store closed. The thought of an ice cream at the end had been giving me motivation!

Around three hours to do an 8 km loop. One of the most enjoyable walks I’ve done with the mixture of views and history.

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Mt Victoria Loop Walk

December 23rd, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Did the Mt Vic loop walk this morning. At first overcast and looked like rain, but by the end of the walk, the sun had burnt all the cloud away and was sweltering. 85 minutes in total and you do 5 kms but a fair amount of uphill. It is basically a figure of eight loop.

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You start at Charles Plimmer Park at the top of Majoribanks Street and head up on the Hataitai to City walk track. This is the one that had Lord of the Rings filmed just off it.

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A view of central to southern suburbs as you head along the western side of Mt Vic.

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That looks like some sort of observatory near Government House. Anyone know what it is exactly?

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Nice shadowy bush track on the eastern side.

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This tree is on a definite lean!

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The Hataitai Velodrome, which you circle around.

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Charles Plimmer Park where you start and finish.

There are literally scores of walking and cycling tracks on Mt Vic. If I loved lived next to it, I’d spend all my time exploring them.

The loop track isn’t signposted as such. It is a combination of four other tracks. But once you work out where to go, it is a great view of both the CBD and the eastern suburbs.

Last time I did this track, they found a dead person there the next day – hopefully no repeat this time!

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Wind Turbine to Red Rocks walk

December 16th, 2012 at 2:19 pm by David Farrar

Red Rocks


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This was a fun, but tough walk.

The first couple of kms are the popular walk from the Brooklyn Wind Turbine to the Hawkins Hill Radar. Uphill, but not too steep except at the end as you pass the Wellington Castle and the nice dogs there try to jump over the fence to rip your throat out.

Instead of turning back, you carry on past the radar, and carry along the 4WD track past a couple more communication buildings. You get great views of the western wind turbines as you head towards the trig station. Pretty windy up there.

The track from the trig on is more narrow and mainly downhill. It is incredibly steep in some places, and combined with gravel paths, the potential for disaster is high. I only fell over once (a nice grazed right leg to show for it) but at times had to side-step down the slope. It was tough going.

While mainly downhill, there are parts where you go back uphill again, and again very steep in parts. We did a total of around 250 metres vertically uphill and 600 metres vertically downhill.

Towards the end you hit the old WWII observation bunkers. Stunning views of the ocean and South Island. The map says there is a track to the right and to the left. However to the right looked like a cliff, smelt like a cliff, sounded like a cliff and we concluded was a cliff. We later learnt there is no path there now.

The path to the left (follow the yellow markers) turned out to have its challenges also. At first a nice walk down a valley, but then it joined another valley and the path turned into a stream. And while the stream had little water, it had a downhill gradient in places of 45 degrees or so. Think climbing down wet rocks, more than walking.

It was with some relief we hit Red Rocks below. A bach owner told us we were the only people that weekend to do the track. I was not totally surprised. Don’t get me wrong – I loved the challenge, and the views. But the steep downhill is not for the faint hearted.

We then had a three km walk or so around the coastline to the Te Kopahau car park. Almost 12 kms all up and took three hours 20 minutes.

Next week in the Mt Victoria loop track which will be considerably easier.

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Otari Skyline Loop Walk

December 1st, 2012 at 4:26 pm by David Farrar

Otari Skyline


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Did this afternoon the Otari Skyline loop walk, which starts at the Troup Picnic Area and up the blue trail too the 800 year old Rimu tree. Then carry on uphill, with a fairly steep incline, until you cross the pine forest and hit the open. A bit further uphill gets you to the Skyline Track and you follow this North for a bit and then head back down to Otari via the yellow trail.

Took 1 hr 45 minutes, which was good as the guide book said two and a half hours. Some great views and good workout for the calves.

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The Southern Walkway

November 19th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Southern Walkway


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On Sunday myself and Jordan and Ski Bunny Girl and Gym Girl did the Southern Walkway. My plan is to do 13 great Wellington walks over 13 weekends. This was the first of them.

Despite growing up in the southern suburbs, I had never done the Southern Walkway before. We started off in Island Bay and walked around the bays to Houghton Bay. I bored everyone with stories of my how I used to deliver papers there and my techniques for maximising tips!

Then up the hill through Melrose and Mt Albert with good views of the Southern and Eastern suburbs. Then you head down through Newtown hitting the boundary of the zoo and seeing the orangutans. Go through the hidden away Truby King Park which looked so nice I’m going to head back just to explore.

We then headed down to near Kilbirnie, then up Mt Victoria. Eventually hitting the lookout where the girls doted on a huge dog (it was only 6 months old, so will grow to double its current size which was already close to a polar bear!), and finally a winding path down to Oriental Bay, with some stunning views on the way.

The guide says it takes four to five hours, and we did it in two and three quarters of an hour so a reasonably good pace considering there are two hills large hills to traverse.

Next weekend is the Sanctuary to Sea walkway.

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