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Our big backyard

With so many scenic reserves, forests and farm parks literally minutes away from our urban streets, it couldn’t be easier to get back to nature.

Kaitoke Swing Bridge
Kaitoke Swingbridge Track
Orongorongo Valley credit Juliet Black
Orongorongo Valley
Photo credit: Juliet Black

Ancient rainforest, hiking and Rivendell

In the foothills of the Tararua Ranges just north of Upper Hutt, this is a wild and delightful playground for nature-lovers. Walkers can enjoy bush trails of various lengths such as the Swingbridge Track. Kaitoke is also the perfect setting for lazy days of picnicking, ball games on grassy lawns, river swimming and camping. A feast of family fun!

Wander where wild kiwi roam

Amongst the high jagged ridges rising up to the east of Wellington Harbour, picnic or camp in Catchpool Valley. Hike the popular Orongorongo Track (2 hours each way), with overnight stays possible - plus a chance to hear (if not see) one of more than 120 kiwi that now roam wild here.

Cannon Point
Cannon Point Walkway
Boulder Hill Belmont Regional Park
Boulder Hill

Scenic walk featuring Birchville Dam

Covering 15,000 hectares of wilderness this is the home of the iconic Karapoti MTB race. Explore rugged forest popular for walking, mountain biking, quad biking and horse trekking. Cannon Point Walkway is the easiest way in.

Choose from more than 10 different trails

Wellington’s largest regional park offers rolling farmland spliced with bush-clad valleys. Walk or cycle up to lookout points such as Belmont Trig (456m), Boulder Hill (442m), ex WWII ammunition bunkers and an airstrip. Korokoro Dam is also a lush trail highlight.

Mt Climie
Mt Climie
Pencarrow Lighthouse aerial
Pencarrow Lighthouse

Grassy picnic areas with plenty of trailheads

Highway signs show the way to Tunnel Gully Recreation Area just north of Upper Hutt. Find grassy picnic areas as well as trailheads for walking and cycling. Fit walkers who love summits can conquer Mt Climie (830m), a 3 – 4 hour return trip with epic views.

Take in coastal views

Seaside bush-clad hills, sheltered valleys, wetlands and rocky coastline – all offering walking and cycling trails with plenty of lookouts across the harbour, picnic spots, and Pencarrow Lighthouses which are the oldest in New Zealand.

Matiu Somes Island
Matiu Somes Island
Te Whiti Riser credit sezgetshred
Te Whiti Riser
Photo credit: sezgetshred

Predator-free island steeped in history

In the middle of Wellington Harbour, this regenerating, predator-free island is home to native birds, tuatara and giant weta. Take a ferry over where walking tracks offer wildlife encounters, fabulous 360-degree views, and stories of rich human history, starting with the island’s discovery by Māori explorer Kupe. Limited overnight stays are available in a campsite or simple lodge.

Stunning hilltop views

The moment where you smile to yourself and take it all in because you've earned the vista opening out in front of you. Enjoy that feeling with these walks.