Mount Victoria is the classic fan favourite for a local Wellington hike, but if it's glorious 360 views across the Skyline, the South Island, the Eastern Harbour and Wellington that you're after, then Mount Kaukau is the one to do.
Mount Kaukau is not a difficult hike, although there are some steeper sections. Much of the Northern Walkway, one of the ways to access the summit, is made of stairs and dirt paths. It's perfect for working up a nice sweat with an incredibly rewarding view at the top!
I headed up here on Waitangi Day to celebrate the founding document of New Zealand, the Treaty of Waitangi, which was signed on February 6, 1840. I love this little country so deeply and feel lucky to have spent it in the nation's capital on a mountaintop under clear blue skies and sunshine. Every day is worth celebrating, but today I celebrated New Zealand a little extra.
MOUNT KAUKAU HIKE DETAILS
Where: Johnsonville, Wellington
Difficulty: easy-intermediate, some steep sections
Length: it takes about 30-40 minutes for 1.6km each way
Directions: there are a couple of ways to access Mount Kaukau Summit, one of the most popular and easily accessible being the Northern Walkway. From the train station at Simla Crescent, cross the track and walk straight up the road; the Northern Walkway is between two houses on the left side.
Public Transit: yes, trains run from Wellington Central to Johnsonville; get off at Simla Crescent station, 4 stops/15 minutes from Wellington. The trip is $5 each way.