Scenic/ Historic Walking Areas in Wellington

Top Scenic Walking Areas in Wellington, New Zealand

Scenic Walking Areas in Wellington

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What travellers are saying

  • Sivasankar Sivapragasam
    Petaling Jaya, Malaysia62 contributions
    I feel there was a spiritual connection between me and the waterfront. It was the first time I did my photography assignment. Thus, it made me feel calm, serene and tranquil at the same time. It might be divine guidance calling out to me.
    Written 8 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Clarity A
    19 contributions
    A must visit place for the art lovers, walking on the waterfront pedestrian you can do self tour and discover text sculptures, feature quotes and trail booklet.
    Written 7 May 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • CarolDM1900
    Montpelier, VT3,239 contributions
    Add a big dollop of nature to your visit at Pencarrow Light by walking through the gloriously vast and beautiful Parangarahu Lakes reserve that is easily accessible via a narrow track down from the lighthouse to the sign marked "Lake Kohangapirpiri Track / Cameron Creek Wetland / Lake Kohangatera Lookout." If you're up for a long hike, you can retrace your steps from the Kohangatera Lookout to pick up and follow the Cameron Ridge Track that joins the Beach Road, which will take you back to Pencarrow Head right at the entrance to Wellington Harbor, with the Pencarrow Lighthouse on the promontory and a smaller one at beach level right along the road.

    I spent about 5 hours walking through this new reserve, up and down steep hills with remarkable vistas bundling together hills, creeks, glittering freshwater lakes and wetlands, Cook Strait beaches, the Pencarrow Lighthouse and scenic Baring Head. This all in one 360 degree view from any place high up, mind you. The views were jaw-dropping. I had some lunch with me, and, amazed by what I saw, just plopped down on the grassy road below the Kohangatera Lookout to take it all in. The views were almost beyond belief.

    I found an abundance of wildlife, many native birds, especially aquatic ones, as well as some oddball "left overs" from the time most of this area was leased for grazing. You'll probably see, as I did, some California Quail, a goat or two, and more than a few sheep that somehow escaped relocation when this land reverted to public management in 2004 after the grazing lease was not renewed and it became part of the regional park.

    Invasive plants like gorse are now being replaced by native ones like manuka, and the area is regenerating, making it a haven for birds, including rare ones like the banded dotterel that nest on protected beaches nearby and other charming natives like the tomtits I saw flitting through the bush.

    The Maori who lived here considered these lakes their "taonga" -- treasure -- and that is reflected in their names, which derive from "Kohanga Ora," meaning something like "nest nurturing life." They are that, being nationally significant pristine freshwater sources, surprisingly separated by only a narrow strip of beach from Cook Strait.

    To add to the sense of wonder, in all those hours of hiking, I did not see another human being until I rejoined the coastal road to complete my circular track. This is something one would not expect to experience in a national capital, but Wellington is different in that it includes several vast reserves with trails for those willing to expend a little energy to see some pretty impressive sights while alone and to hear only the sounds of nature. Red Rocks is another one I have greatly enjoyed but these lakes were new to me, and I kick myself for not having explored them sooner. So I tried to make the best of it in one day.

    There are different ways to get here. I took a long one, by bus (#83) from downtown Wellington to the last stop in Eastbourne, right near the Wahine Memorial honoring those who lost in the 1968 sinking of a ferry of that name. I hiked up to the lighthouse along the coastal road -- about 50 minutes from the bus stop -- and then cut over to the lake trails. Once I looped around Pencarrow and was back near the lighthouse where I'd started, I returned to Wellington the same way.

    So this was a full day trip for me, because of the time needed to use public transportation between Wellington and Eastbourne and then to walk the coastal road to and from Pencarrow Lighthouse. But you can also get on the coastal road further up, nearer to Baring Head. I saw buses with signs advertising "The Storm Coast" tour going both ways around Pencarrow Head, so if they can do it, so can a car. There seemed to be vehicle access to the coastal road in the direction of Baring head, a bit beyond the point where Lake Kohangatera nears Cook Strait. So with a car, you'd probably have an easier and shorter time getting here. If you want to drive to save time, I suggest you carefully consult a road map for the easiest point of vehicular access.

    However you get here, no matter how long it takes, your trip will be worth it. Mine was unforgettable.

    Highly Recommended.
    Written 21 March 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Beverly H
    Wanaka, Otago, New Zealand11 contributions
    It’s mark as a dog exercise park but there is more to it, the best lookout to view the Wellington Harbour, oriental bay. On a windy day best to access this walk via Old Porirua Rd, there are a few steeps up but you get rewarded with view of the Harbour and very sheltered seating.
    Written 17 September 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • cushandbos a
    3 contributions
    'I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills', puffs me, catching enough breath to consider the incline at the bottom of the Oriental Terrace steps, 'Crikey, that's steep'. Grasping the well-used white-painted wooden handrail I launch myself onward and upward and begin the ascent.

    It's a beautiful late winter day in Wellington. Clear, crisp, refreshing. After a fairly sedate, almost polite, amble along along the Oriental Bay sea front with its stately curve of established Norfolk pines, manicured sands and strategically placed children's play equipment, Oriental Terrace Steps is something of an unruly challenge. Free form, wild even, which is part of their attraction being as they are smack in the middle of the Grand Circle, the New Zealand equivalent of the Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes. So unexpected and against type. There is anarchy and liberation here. Beautiful old weather-beaten bungalows and villas border the path, every one a treasured survivor of our architectural heritage. It's a village.

    A local resident weeds her garden. She waves to a brace of determined lunchtime joggers cheerily negotiating a retiree on a walk with their dog. 'Scuse' and they're off. Ti kouka, karaka, fruit and olive trees shelter newly planted baby manuka starting to establish roots. In communion, wind-resistant flaxes, bee-friendly herbs and wild flowers happily colonise the zig-zag path. Crushed underfoot the gentle and woody scent of thyme is encouraging. Keep going, Girl! St Gerard's Monastery appears above. Almost at the top... Pause now, turn and look back. Whanganui-a Tara - the Great Harbour of Tara stretches out before you. Glorious. A joy that truly does magnify the soul.
    Written 12 August 2017
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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