Walking in Wellington: 5 ways to explore the capital on foot

Forget the tour bus; get walking and explore the beauty and bustle of Wellington.

Be you visitor or local, keeping active in Wellington is made simple by the city’s natural charms. Situated on the harbour with beautiful scenery in all directions, a history proudly on display and an abundance of city central activities makes slipping on the comfy shoes and hitting the pavement an easy choice. We’ve selected five of the best ways to explore the capital on foot.

The Mt Victoria Loop. Explore a small part of Wellington’s ‘Town Belt’ with a hike around the Mt Victoria Loop. A 4.7km return trip and quite steep in places, the track starts at Charles Plimmer Park at the top of Majoribanks Street and is favoured for its well-maintained track and spectacular views of the city and the harbour. While you’re in the area…

Embrace your inner Hobbit.  In addition to panoramic views and beautiful wooded surrounds, Mt Victoria is also famous for being chosen as a filming location for Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring. The area is easily accessible by foot up Mt Alexander Road; look for the carpark about halfway up and a track heading down the hill on the left. LOTR fans can get their hike on and follow in the steps of their favourite characters; several well-known scenes from Fellowship were filmed here, including the ‘Get off the road’ scene.

Jump on the Craft Beer Trail. Ok, we know that staying fit and drinking beer don't necessarily go hand in hand. However, exploring the city's famous Craft Beer Trail on foot is probably as close as you'll get to a fitness experience involving beer! Wellington is considered New Zealand’s craft beer capital; breweries and specialist bars are scattered throughout the city and popular events such as Beervana and the Wellington Wine, Food and Craft Beer Festival are dedicated to celebrating popular and creative brews. Download a map from the Craft Beer Capital website and follow the trail; several establishments are conveniently located within walking distance of each other, providing punters with the opportunity to stretch their legs and refresh between tastings and tours.

Step back in time. Explore Wellington’s diverse heritage with a walk along one of the city’s many heritage trails. Learn about the history of Wellington’s first Māori residents on Te Ara o Ngā Tupuna (the Trail of Our Ancestors), the first half of which is accessible on foot. Immerse yourself in the city’s historic connection to the harbour and beautifully crafted harbourside buildings on the Maritime Trail. Continue your appreciation of the capital’s historic architecture with an exploration of the theatre and cinema district at Courtney Place or a stroll along Cuba Street, home to many well-preserved Edwardian designs. Trail maps are available on the Wellington City Council website.

Take it all in. Explore the best of Wellington with a hike along the City to Sea Walkway. The 12km trail starts in central Wellington near Parliament, and winds through Botanic Gardens and historic cemeteries with views of the city and harbour at many points along the way. The trail winds along Victoria University and into the city’s historic quarter before making its way through the surrounding Town Belt, and finally down into Island Bay, where weary walkers can take in the town’s quiet beauty before catching a bus back to the CBD. This trail requires a reasonably good degree of fitness to be completed in a day but can be done in stages for those looking to take it easy.  Download the Wellington City Council’s ‘Welly Walks’ app to access a map and information about the Walkway.

Words by Rebecca Walker - Published 11 November 2018
Quick Facts 
Population Approx 423,000
Area 290 km2
Time Zone GMT +12
Languages English (official)
Currency New Zealand dollar (NZD)
Electricity 220 – 240v 50Hz
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