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Mākara Walkway, Wellington

Just a stone’s throw from the glass towers of the capital, impressive towers of rock stand against the tide and waves of Cook Strait and in defiance of the ferocious northerly winds that streak through the channel separating North and South islands. 

The Mākara Walkway begins at Ohariu Bay to follow the coastline south. A century ago, a community of Italian fishermen lived here, eking a living from the sea. Once at Wharehou Bay, the track takes a left and cuts up the hill exposing impressive views over Cook Strait. Those who have lived in the area have long taken advantage of the superb viewpoint, evident from both the Ngāti Ira pā site on a promontory above the bay and Fort Opau further up the hill. The fort was commissioned during the Second World War to defend Wellington from attack and was garrisoned by the 100-strong Mākara Home Guard. 

Views are more expansive from the top of the hill over the surrounding country, encompassing views of Mana and Kapiti islands, Project West Wind’s turbines, the Tararua Range and the Marlborough Sounds. It would be a perfect place to watch the sunset. 

From the fort, the track drops steeply to the shore at Opau Bay and an easy return along the coast to the car park. 

Total Ascent
Mākara Beach, 18km from central Wellington

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