Karori is surrounded by oportunities to get out-and-about, particularly if you're into mountain biking but walkers are well catered for as well. The tracks literally surround the valley and a number of them link with even longer tracks like Skyline and Hawkins Hill. Whatever your fancy Karori delivers in spades. Two of my personal favourites are Johnson Hill for the views and Makara Peak bike park for the wow factor.

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Skyline Walkway


This is one of the must do tracks in Wellington region for anyone who has a heartbeat. The track officially runs between the top of the Makara Rd in Karori and Mt Kaukau in Johnsonville but includes a number of additional access points along the way. The track is poled in places which can be difficult to follow in low cloud whiteout conditions but overall the track is in good condition. This is also included as a mountain bike track but be prepared to get off your bike and push from time to time

Time and Difficulty

Allow between 4 and 6 hours one way for the full track

Distance and Height

The track is around 11km long

Johnsons Hill

Johnsons Hill

This track is an access point for the Skyline walkway as well as a destination in itself. The very top of Johnsons Hill rewards with 360 degree views that will take your breath away including what I think is the best view of Wellington city and the harbour. A couple of loop tracks offers some variety and you can also link with Wilton Bush or Makara Peak if you want. The main access is from the carpark at the end of Hatton Rd or through the Karori Cemetery in Standen St

Time and Difficulty

Allow around half an hour to reach the top from the main carpark

Distance and Height

Its around 1km from the carpark to the top of Johnsons Hill with a vertical climb of around 234m

Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park

Makara Peak This area is simply the premier mountain biking resource in the Wellington region. Sure you can go for longer rides like the ECNZ road and the Hutt River trail but this area offers more technical challenges, longer rides if thats your fancy and still provides stunning views. One minor note of caution for newbies is the high volume of users but everyone I've met has been understanding and considerate. If you are worried stick to the less travelled routes like the ridgeline.

Time and Difficulty

Everything from fifteen minute warmups to half day epics is catered for

Distance and Height

The area has over 30km of tracks suitable for everyone from beginners through to advanced. The top of Makara Peak is around 410m.

Karori Bike Park

Karapoti This is a small cousin to Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park and is oriented more towards kids and beginners. Despite this the tracks are in good nick and the open runs through pine forest are good fun. This area also links with the Skyline Track.

Time and Difficulty

While the tracks may not be as long as Makara Peak it is still possible to wile away an hour on these tracks although this will include three or four trips back to the summit

Distance and Height

This area has around 6km of tracks to suit everyone with the highest point being around 240m above sealevel

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

Skyline Makara Track

Skyline Makara

This track is an alternate route along Skyline Track that uses some side valleys on the Makara side to provide a much more challenging route. The track is in surprisingly good condition but some sections are steep and it can be difficult to navigate with a number of adjoining tracks. The route can be done on a bike.

Time and Difficulty

This track shouldn't be taken lightly so allow around an hour and a half or more

Distance and Height

The track is around 6km in length and includes a 300m drop into the valley followed by a 200m climb back up.

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.

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