Saturday, May 02, 2009

More Walking, Less Driving

Eastern Walkway

One of the really nice things about living in Wellington is how close we are to a lot of good hiking areas. Going for a day hike can be a great way to touch base with nature when you can't spare the whole weekend for an overnighter.

I thought I'd dedicate a post to day hikes that take less than an hour to reach by car from our home. Some take as little as five minutes by car (or a 25 minute walk), some take close to an hour. But an hour is about my maximum time for driving to a day hike. Otherwise, you waste half the day in the car.
First there are the Green Belt walkways in Wellington itself. While these are not quite as "wild" as some of the other parks they're still a good option if you want to get outdoors for a couple of hours and still be able to scrub up and meet your friends for dinner.

There are several walkways through the Green Belt. I've done the Southern Walkway from Mt Victoria to Island Bay, the City to Sea Walkway from the Botanic Garden to Island Bay, part of the Eastern Walkway, from the South Coast along the Miramar Peninsula. And I've done part of the Northern Walkway - but not the whole thing - around Mt. Kaukau. Here are some pics:
Southern Walkway (view of Wellington CBD)
City to Sea Walkway

Also close to Wellington is Colonial Knob in Porirua, a three hour loop walk with great views but not much bush.

Belmont Regional Park in the Hutt Valley is another handy spot just 20 minutes' drive from home. There's a bush walk up to Belmont Trig (2.5 hours return) or a loop walk called the Belmont Dress Circle (4 hours) which passes through a lot of farmland and past some old battlements.
Makara Beach offers another decent loop (3 hours) with views of the South Island. I've had good luck with marine wildlife in this area. It's a great place to collect paua shells on the rocky beach, and I've also seen orca just offshore and a little blue penguin one day on the beach.

Makara Beach

Orca off Makara Beach

Whew, well that's a taste of what's in my backyard. Perhaps I'll save the rest for a part 2 covering the Catchpool Valley, Eastbourne and Kaitoke Regional Park. Yes, we're still only looking at options less than an hour's drive from my house.


Angie said...

Wow! What a gorgeous place to hike! We love to hike, but are no where near the ocean, and the views are very different because the forests are so thick.

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Beautiful location! I will definitely need to visit there.

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