Wonderful Welly Walks

We’ve been living and working Wellington for six months now, and while we have been feeling  too far away from home with the incredible Labour movement and the inspirational Jeremy Corbyn (although we did vote), we have been seeking ways to distract ourselves from our uselessness and to make the most of the city.

Not only this, but with our impending Asia trip in August, backpackers budget and an adventurous mindset, we are always looking for new things to see in the city and its surroundings.

The great thing about Wellington is its proximity to nature. Even from our doorstep in Thorndon we can access the Wilderness in just a few minutes (and quite a few stairs).

But to really see Wellington’s wonderful nature the best thing to do is jump on a train or bus and see Wellington from the outside surrounded by nothing but green and blue. Here are three of our favourite walks so far.

The Skyline – Johnsonville

The longest walk in all of Wellington you can walk around the mountainous valley and see the city from up high. The walk starts at Johnsonville train station (roughly) and is a steep and mountainous terrain from there – great for the thighs.

It also has some of the most spectacular views of Wellington I’ve ever seen, but a word of warning, it’s very poorly signposted. We found ourselves determinedly walking in the wrong direction every hour or so, and even so far off the trail that we ended up in a town we didn’t expect to find… Even following the Welly Walks app, we still managed to get lost.

Still when we finally reached the various peaks the Skyline offered spectacular sights across Wellington and even out across to the South Island.

The Red Rocks – Island Bay

When you arrive in the little seaside burb of Island Bay, it seems a little dreary. It’s a rugged and shabby neighbourhood with that is mostly residential and serves the purpose of providing access to the Red Rocks coastal walk. Of course, like much of Wellington it’s still an incredibly desirable spot and it’s no stranger to ginormous houses in the mountainside, but it is lacking a pub…

As you walk through the town and into the coastal walkway, it’s as if you are once again completely isolated from the city. The rocky, craggy terrain is a little tricky to walk but it’s entirely flat and you can reach the Red Rocks in less than an hour.

The other attraction is, of course, the seals, who laze about on the red, and grey, rocks and are apathetic towards the tourists who stare at them and edge closer and closer. Although one or two show their anger with a little growl or bark…

The Escarpment a.k.a. The Stairway to Heaven

On one of Wellington’s wettest weekends, when there seemed no hope for a hike, we decided to go for it anyway and hopped on the train to Pukerua Bay. The rain was smattering the train windows with water for the entire journey and we started to regret our decision, until we got off. In true Wellington-style the weather changed drastically, from wet and windy to sunny and windy… it’s always windy.

The route from Pukerua Bay is mostly uphill along a steep and narrow track that follows the coastline down below. You are pretty much walking along a path that has been cut out of a cliff face – so it can be a little frightening. The walk is also made up of other apparatus, including swinging bridges and steep stairways (the element that gives it it’s name, Stairway to Heaven).

While it sounds a little precarious, the views are breathtaking, with endless blue sea and plenty of green fields alongside them (if you can look past the road). The walk is around 10km and you can conveniently get the train back from the next town of Paekakariki to Wellington.

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