Wellington from the Skyline
The Skyline Walkway provides a vantage point over both Wellington City and the South Island. It spans most of Wellington’s western suburbs and can be walked from north or south.
The rolling hills of Ohariu Valley, the sunset over Cook Strait and excellent viewpoints within 30-minutes’ walk of each of the track ends, make this a destination worth coming to on the weekend with the family or to clear your head after a busy day at work.
Views can also include snow on the Tararua Range in winter, Mt Taranaki and Mt Ruapehu on clear evenings and Mt Tapuae-O-Uenuku to the south. There are few better views on offer anywhere else in Wellington.
In the south, the track starts from the highest point on Makara Road. It climbs steadily to offer ever grander views of the South Island. After around 2km, the first major landmark is reached: Johnston Hill. This is an excellent destination in itself, but also marks another entry point to the walkway for those wishing to walk a shorter section.
The walkway weaves around the hillsides, passing numerous turn-offs to Otari Bush and the suburbs of Karori, Northland, Wilton and Chartwell. If you’re lucky you may see kākā or kererū flying overhead.
The trail rises and falls over the next few kilometres and is enough to get the heart racing along the Kilminister tops. At The Crows Nest, a 385m high point roughly halfway along the walkway, it’s possible to look back at where you’ve walked and to view the trail ahead.
Just north of here is Bells Track, which links up to Ngaio. The Walkway continues along the ridge to Kaukau, at 445m the highest point on the trail and one of Wellington’s most popular lookouts.
Continuing north along the ridge and down the steep hillside from Kaukau, the trail follows the purple Skyline Walkway markers to lead to the Old Coach Road. This is the first formed road that connected Johnsonville with Ohariu Valley, and is the end (or start) of the track.
- Peter Sim