It was a beautiful day-after-boxing-day today. Sun shining, 24 degrees and light breeze. We have been talking about the 11km Southern Walkway for a while now, not sure we knew what to expect so here is our review.
Wellington has a fabulous town belt system. There are walking / mountain biking tracks throughout so we are quite lucky to have that kind of access. The Southern Walkway goes from Oriental Parade, around Mt Victoria and follows the ridge line from there all the way to Island Bay.
I would describe it as steep/steep, followed by Wow view, discovery of a new park we didn't know existed, followed by more steep/steep - as a continuous loop. There are wee down bits too but much of this track is up! Not much is flat.
The town belt isn't spectacular. The track starting at the Mt Vic end weaves through a pine forest, so heavy with roots to navigate and feels like it's primarily a mountain biking track. You certainly can see great tree stumps and ledges Hobbits hid under during the first LOTR as you wander through these paths.
Wellington's belt of pohutakawa are emerging into flower so we did enjoy some of the spectacular shows of red occasionally.
Towards the end of the track we climbed to the peak of Mt Albert closely followed by another climb to a trig then onto the road in Houghton Bay before descending to the coast, which we followed around to Island Bay finishing where the #1 bus starts.
We also enjoyed a yummy lunch at Mojo Wellington Zoo along the way.
Key info. 11km, took us 3 hours 40. 82 flights of elevation according to Apple (Mt KauKau is 56). Look at the elevations on this site to see the frequent steep/steep elements. http://wellington.govt.nz/~/media/maps/files/southern.pdf
We will definitely walk in the town belt again but perhaps not this route.