Brooklyn South, Red Rocks and Te Kopahou Reserve


This area is a mecca for mountain bikers with well formed, long 4wd roads and some tricky side tracks. Be prepared, as this area is very exposed to the prevailing weather and stiff, cold southerlies can come out of no-where. Highlights of this area would have to be the views out over Wellington and the South Island along with the Seal Colony at Red Rocks.

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Zealandia Outer Fence Walk

Brooklyn Windmill

This track circumnivigates the outside of the Zealandia fence and takes in the Brooklyn windturbine on the way. Keep an eye out for Kaka and other native birds from the reserve as you wander. I usually do this track counterclockwise starting at the Zealandia carpark as this gives the best downhills on a mountain bike. You can access this track from Waiapu Rd (Zealandia), Wrights Hill Rd or the Brooklyn Wind Turbine

Time and Difficulty

This is quite a long walk taking around three hours to complete but on a bike it can be done in around half this time

Distance and Height

This track is around 9.7km long and runs between 135m and 385m above sealevel

Polehill Reserve - George Denton Park

Polehill Reserve This loop track runs to the ridgeline above Aro Street then round towards Highbury and back down the hill towards Aro. The track is generally in good condition although some of the exposed slopes can get a little overgrown. At the top end you can opt to take a short loop to the Karori fence then back past some WW2 gun emplacements to the bottom of the Windmill access road. Views are spectacular. The track is best done as a loop starting and finishing in Aro St however you can also join at Ashton Fitchitt Dr and Highbury Cr

Time and Difficulty

Allow around an hour and a half to walk or around an hour if you're going to bike

Distance and Height

This track runs for around 3km for the round trip

Brooklyn Windmill Sidle Track

Windmill Siddle Track This track siddles up towards the windmill then carries on past to join the Hawkins Hill Access Rd a km or so down the road. The track is more of a ground trail but is easy enough to follow and has the added attraction of the occasional car part on the way to the windmill. The bush is a little scrappy but the views in some places are good and this track can be linked with others to give a good daytrip. The track can be accessed from Forsyth Gr or from various points along the Hawkins Hill Access Rd

Time and Difficulty

Allow around half an hour to walk this route. The track doesn't suit mountain bikes but nothing says you can't try.

Distance and Height

This track runs for around 1km one way

Te Kopahou Reserve

Te Kopahou Reserve This reserve covers the area from Hawkins Hill to the South Coast and includes some of the most memorable mountain bike rides in Wellington. The hills are steep and covered with either native scrub or gorse but for those prepared to get up high to the ridges the views of Wellington and the South Island are to die for. The area also includes the seal colony at Red Rocks and the radar station at Hawkins Hill. Happy Valley Rd or Owhiro Parade provide the main access

Time and Difficulty

If you're walking to the ridgeline allow between 45 minutes and an hour one way. If you're just doing the loop allow around 2.5 to 3 hours walking time. Naturally going down is faster and on a bike is quite a rush.

Distance and Height

The main track to the ridgeline runs mostly uphill for approximately 3km one way. The active user can also take a loop using a side track into the valley around half way up. This track rejoins the ridgeline track just before the top and makes for a round trip of approximately 10km return.

Red Rocks and South Coast

South Coast This group of 4wd tracks and gravel roads provides access into the hills and beaches of Wellingtons South Coast. Well used by the locals, it's surprisingly remote for somewhere so close to our capital city. All activities are well catered for and, on a good day, the views are hard to beat. Some of the tracks are quite steep but doable for most reasonably fit walkers. One of my favourites is visiting the Doplar Radar, thats the golf ball looking object on the ridgeline visible from much of downtown Wellington. Another interesting attraction is the fur seal colony on Sinclair Point round from Red Rocks. Never come between a seal and the sea, keep your distance (the smell takes care of that for most people) and respect the seals right to some privacy and everyone will continue to get on just fine. The seals are in the colony over the winter months, between May and October inclusive. Owhiro Bay Parade provides access to the track around the coast or use the track at the junction of Happy Valley Rd and the Landfill or the road from the Brooklyn windmill off Ashton-Fitchett Dr to access the ridgeline.

Distance and Height

This area has around 20km of tracks so literally the world is your oyster

City to Sea Walkway and Tawatawa Reserve

Tawatawa Reserve and City 2 Sea These linked tracks run along the ridge between Brooklyn and Island Bay/Berhampore. The highlight must be the statue on the highest point of the ridge, I'm not sure what it represents but the location is superb. Tawatawa Reserve which occupies the space between the ridgeline and the valley floor is also worth a look and our support.

Time and Difficulty

The area caters to everything from 10 minute strolls to the three or four hours required to see it all.

Distance and Height

There is over 8km of tracks in this area and seemingly everywhere that could have a track does.

Wrights Hill Reserve

Wrights Hill This group of tracks are centred around the historic WW2 gun emplacements and the bush around Wrights Hill. It forms part of the Karori green belt and can be used to form large links with Makara Bike Park and the Zealandia fence walk.

Time and Difficulty

To do all the tracks in the area takes around 35 to 45 minutes.

Distance and Height

The area has around 2km of tracks most suited to walkers although mountain bikes do sometimes use the tracks so keep an eye out.

Wrights Hill Reserve - Middle Carpark

This group of bushwalking tracks runs from the middle carpark down into Karori and is used by both walkers and bikers so keep an eye out. The tracks can be linked with Makara Bike Park for those with a death wish or the streets below can be used to form loops. Overall the tracks are in excellent, well maintained condition.

Time and Difficulty

Most of the tracks take around 30 minutes to complete one way but some include reasonably steep climbs.

Distance and Height

The area has around 5km of tracks with some fairly stiff climbs included.

Mobile tower at Owhiro Bay

Mobile tower at Owhiro Bay I found this track by accident when I was trying to find the start of the track accessing Te Kaupohou Reserve from Owhiro Bay. The track is quite steep over the last 100m but is pretty decent the rest of the way.

Time and Difficulty

Allow around 15 minutes to get to the top and a little quicker coming back down

Distance and Height

The track is around 950m long and rises to 135m above sealevel.

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