12 of The Best Running Tracks in Wellington, New Zealand
- 1. Mount Victoria Lookout
- 2. Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park
- 3. Wellington Waterfront
- 4. Polhill Reserve
- 5. Eastern Walkway
- 6. Houghton Valley to Red Rocks
- 7. Outer Green Belt
- 8. Makara Beach to Opau Bay
- 9. Kaiwharawhara to Khandallah Park
- 10. Northern Walkway
- 11. Tawa to Colonial Knob
- 12. Belmont Regional Park
- Safety Tips for Running in Wellington
- Lace Up and Explore
If you’re a runner, Wellington, New Zealand, is a city that offers a diverse and stunning backdrop for your runs. From coastal trails with breathtaking views to lush green parks, Wellington has it all. In this guide, we’ll take you through 12 of the best running tracks in Wellington, each with its unique charm and appeal. So, lace up your running shoes, and let’s explore these fantastic routes.
1. Mount Victoria Lookout
Location: Mount Victoria
Starting our list with a Wellington classic, the Mount Victoria Lookout offers a challenging ascent with rewarding panoramic views of the city and harbor. The loop track is approximately 5 kilometers long, and the climb provides an excellent workout. The lush greenery and iconic redwoods make this track a local favorite.
2. Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park
While primarily a mountain biking park, Makara Peak offers a network of trails that are perfect for trail running enthusiasts. The diverse terrain, native bush, and well-maintained paths make it an exciting place to explore. The “Summit Loop” is a popular choice for runners seeking an exhilarating challenge.
3. Wellington Waterfront
Location: Central Wellington
For those who prefer a flat and scenic route, the Wellington Waterfront is ideal. You can enjoy a leisurely run along the harbor, passing by cafes, sculptures, and beautiful views of the city skyline. The flat terrain makes it suitable for runners of all levels, and you can choose to extend your route for longer runs.
4. Polhill Reserve
Location: Aro Valley
Polhill Reserve offers a mix of bush and open trails, making it a versatile choice for runners. You’ll encounter native New Zealand birds, and the route provides a peaceful escape from the city. The steep ascent can be a challenge, but the views from the top are worth it.
5. Eastern Walkway
Location: Kilbirnie to Miramar
The Eastern Walkway offers a picturesque coastal run along the eastern suburbs of Wellington. You’ll pass through native bush, rocky shores, and sandy beaches. This route is perfect for runners looking to enjoy the beauty of Wellington’s coastline.
6. Houghton Valley to Red Rocks
Location: Houghton Bay
The Houghton Valley to Red Rocks track is a gem for trail runners. The route takes you along the rugged southern coastline, with the opportunity to spot seals at the Red Rocks Marine Reserve. The challenging terrain and dramatic scenery make this run an unforgettable adventure.
7. Outer Green Belt
Location: Outer suburbs of Wellington
The Outer Green Belt is a network of trails that winds through the outer suburbs of Wellington. With a variety of tracks to choose from, you can customize your run to match your desired distance and difficulty level. The lush green surroundings provide a refreshing escape from the urban hustle and bustle.
8. Makara Beach to Opau Bay
Location: Makara Beach
This coastal run takes you from Makara Beach to the tranquil Opau Bay. The track offers stunning views of the coastline and the Tasman Sea. It’s a great option for runners who appreciate the sound of crashing waves and the scent of salt in the air.
9. Kaiwharawhara to Khandallah Park
Starting at Kaiwharawhara, this track leads you through picturesque bush and ends at Khandallah Park. The well-maintained paths and elevation changes provide a satisfying workout. The lush surroundings make it an enjoyable journey for nature-loving runners.
10. Northern Walkway
Location: Wellington Botanic Garden to Johnsonville
The Northern Walkway is a scenic trail that takes you from the Wellington Botanic Garden to Johnsonville. You’ll traverse native bush, pass through the historic Tinakori Hill tunnels, and enjoy views of the city along the way. The well-marked track offers a mix of flat and hilly sections.
11. Tawa to Colonial Knob
This challenging run starts in Tawa and leads you to the summit of Colonial Knob. The steep ascent rewards you with panoramic views of Wellington, Porirua, and the South Island on a clear day. It’s a fantastic choice for runners seeking a vigorous workout and stunning vistas.
12. Belmont Regional Park
Belmont Regional Park offers an extensive network of trails, catering to runners of all levels. Whether you prefer flat paths or steep ascents, this park has it all. The diverse terrain and beautiful surroundings make it a great place for a long run or a leisurely jog.
Safety Tips for Running in Wellington
Before you hit the trails or streets of Wellington, it’s essential to keep safety in mind. Here are some valuable tips to ensure your runs are not only enjoyable but also safe:
1. Check the Weather
Wellington is known for its changeable weather, so always check the forecast before heading out. Be prepared for sudden temperature drops, rain, or strong winds. Dress appropriately and consider packing an extra layer or a waterproof jacket just in case.
2. Stay Hydrated
Even on cooler days, staying hydrated is crucial. Carry a water bottle with you, especially for longer runs. Wellington’s hilly terrain can be challenging, so it’s essential to keep your fluid levels up.
3. Tell Someone About Your Run
If you’re running alone, let someone know your planned route and estimated return time. In case of an emergency, this information can be invaluable.
4. Carry Your Phone
Having a mobile phone with you can be a lifesaver in case you need assistance or if you find yourself off course.
5. Mind the Terrain
Wellington’s tracks can vary from well-groomed paths to rugged trails. Be cautious and wear appropriate footwear for the terrain you’ll be tackling. Trail running shoes with good grip are a wise choice for hilly or uneven surfaces.
6. Respect Wildlife and Environment
Keep an eye out for native wildlife, especially when running in bush areas. Wellington is home to unique birdlife and marine creatures, so be sure to respect their habitats.
7. Carry Identification
Carry some form of identification with you, such as an ID card or a copy of your driver’s license, just in case.
8. Be Visible
If you’re running in low-light conditions or early in the morning or evening, wear reflective gear and consider using a headlamp or a flashing light to make yourself more visible to others.
9. Observe Trail Etiquette
When running on shared trails, be considerate of other users, such as walkers and cyclists. Follow any posted rules or guidelines for trail use.
10. Listen to Your Body
Finally, always listen to your body. If you feel pain, dizziness, or any discomfort that doesn’t seem normal, it’s okay to cut your run short or seek medical attention if necessary. Your safety and well-being should always come first.
Lace Up and Explore
Wellington, New Zealand, is a runner’s paradise, with a variety of running tracks that cater to all preferences and fitness levels. Whether you’re seeking breathtaking coastal views, lush bushland, or urban waterfront paths, Wellington has it all. So, lace up your running shoes, pick a track that suits your mood, and embark on a running adventure in this stunning city.