Walking tracks in Ngaio and Crofton Downs
Ngaio and Crofton Downs have many walking tracks of varying length and difficulty.
A new edition of the map of walking tracks in Ngaio and Crofton Downs is now available free at the Cummings Park library, or can be downloaded below. The map was prepared by the Ngaio Crofton Downs Residents Association, and printed with funding from the Wellington City Council. This replaces the 2014 edition. It includes the new Korimako Track linking the bottom of the Crow’s Next track with the bottom of Bell’s track, and making a great round trip readily accessible from both Ngaio and Crofton Downs.”
- Walking Tracks Map Update 2018. Our latest update of the tracks map, from July 2018.
The park covers a large area of rugged landscape extending from the lower Ngaio Gorge to Waikowhai Street with an extensive network of walking tracks. Cared for by a dedicated group of volunteers in co-operation with the Wellington City Council for over 20 years, the park has regenerating bush and a number of heritage trees.
There are five main entrances to Trelissick Park:
Ngaio Gorge / Kaiwharawhara Road, Ngaio Gorge Road, Trelissick Crescent, Waikowhai Street and Hanover Street.
From the Waikowhai Street entrance (near the railway overbridge between Ngaio and Crofton Downs) the track descends to Wightwick’s Field, a flat grassed area with a picnic table and seats. Not far from the Waikowhai Street entrance the track is carved out of solid rock. This is believed to be the remains of a nineteenth century logging track.
A few metres further on, the Silverstream from Crofton Downs emerges from a culvert. Adjacent to this are the remains of a rare old drystone wall constructed when the Wellington-Manawatu Railway Line was built in the 1880s.
The track follows the Korimako Stream until it intersects with tracks from Trelissick Crescent and Hanover Street, Wadestown.
Just before the junction with the Wadestown-Trelissick section of the track, a zigzag track provides access to one of the area’s finest scenic features. This is the emergence of the stream from a section known as The Gorge from its narrowness and steep sides. At the junction there are several notable trees nearby especially two mature specimens of miro and totara.
From the junction another track runs around the steep hillside to Ngaio Gorge Road. Walking this track requires care due to the steep slope. Downhill from the intersection, the left hand track near the river (now called the Kaiwharawhara Stream) continues to the two lower Ngaio Gorge Road exits.
A major point of interest towards the end of the track is the remains of an historic powder magazine built in 1879-80 and used for storing explosives during the Russian invasion scare of the 1880s. In 2002 the site was damaged when a bank robbery getaway car was set alight.
The track in Trelissick Park from Hanover Street to Waikowhai Street is part of the Northern Walkway. From Waikowhai Street a short road walk leads to Cummings Park. From Awarua Street the walkway goes along Khandallah Road and Simla Crescent to Khandallah Park where it ascends to the top of Mt Kaukau.
Te Araroa Trail
Te Araroa stretches 3,000km from Cape Reinga to Bluff. From Mt Kaukau it follows the Skyline Walkway and then Bell’s Track into Ngaio. It proceeds along the Northern Walkway from the Awarua Street Entrance to Cummings Park and on to Wadestown.
Huntleigh Park Reserve
This lesser known area is a WCC reserve. Adjoining bush is administered by the Girl Guides Association. Access is from behind the Playcentre in Silverstream Road, from Huntleigh Park Way and from the Skyline Walkway via the Crow’s Nest Track. Tracks are marked with small coloured posts. Some care is needed in several areas that are quite steep.
This grassed and generally flat park is behind the Ngaio shops. There is a stream, an old totara, sculpture, seating, a children’s playground and a designated off-the-lead dog exercise area.
Heke Street Reserve
A pleasant track through this reserve links Crofton Downs and Ngaio. Access is from the end of Collingwood Street and between 45 and 47 Thatcher Crescent. A side track runs to Heke Street emerging next to 41 Heke Street.
Crows Nest Track
This begins from the top of Huntleigh Park and passes through private land, then the Outer Greenbelt to join with the Skyline Walkway.
The Silversky Track is a walking and biking track from Silver- stream Road up towards the Crofton Downs substation. From there you can follow a track to the Skyline Walkway. A side track connects with Downing Street.
This re-established route starts at the top of Awarua Street and joins a farm track up to a saddle on the ridge. It originally provided access between farms in Ohariu Valley and Ngaio railway station. From the top there are fantastic views over Wellington and the South Island. A dedicated care group is restoring the vegetation.
Orleans Makererua Reserve (Pukatea Track)
This small reserve has an interesting 10 minute track running from Makererua Street (off Heke Street) to Orleans Street (off Motueka Street). There is a gently sloped grassed area at the Orleans end. The reserve is notable for a number of fine specimens of native trees (pukatea, kahikatea and titoki) that are survivors from the original bush. A local care group looks after the area.
Part of this walkway runs north-south along the ridge between Mt Kaukau and Crofton Downs. It is 4km long and takes two hours at an easy pace. On a clear day there are spectacular views of the Kaikoura ranges, the Marlborough Sounds, Wellington city and harbour and the Tararua and Orongorongo ranges. The walkway is open to walkers and mountain bikers.
Piwakawaka Track (Odell Reserve)
Access is from alongside 14 Punjab Street or from Old Porirua Road near the entrance to the Harbour Lights subdivision. This track passes through regenerating bush and provides a convenient segment of a circular walk in association with the Bridle Track. The highest point, at the water tanks, provides spectacular views of the city, harbour and Ngaio itself. Great vantage point for Guy Fawkes night.
Starting from Chartwell Drive (just above John Witton Drive) a wide track provides access to the Skyline Walkway, passing beehives and through a horse paddock on the way.
This passes through mainly private land and links the bottom of Bell’s Track with the bottom of the Crow’s Nest Track. Other access points are off Patna Street and via a paper road at the end of Huntleigh Park Way. It makes readily accessible a round trip taking in the Crow’s Nest, the Skyline Walkway and Bell’s Track. The track was completed by volunteers in 2016 with the landowners approval.
Otari – Wilton’s Bush
This sanctuary in nearby Wilton is devoted to indigenous New Zealand plants. It has a range of tracks through forest, gardens, open spaces and picnic areas. This is one of the finest show- cases of native flora in the country and is a national treasure. Access points close to Ngaio and Crofton Downs are from Churchill Drive, John Witton Drive and the main entrance on Wilton Road. It is within walking distance of both suburbs.
Ngaio and Crofton Downs have a large number of zigzag walkways and steps between streets. These provide easier access for pedestrians to shops and transport. These are shown on the map as dotted lines linking streets. They complement the track system and provide interesting walks and shortcuts through the suburbs.
- Wear sensible shoes
- Take a waterproof jacket and warm clothing
- Tell someone your plans
- Check MetService’s local weather reports
- Tracks.org.nz has a long list of Ngaio walking tracks, complete with information on access and grade.
- Nature Space has contact details for local restoration groups, including Trelissick Park Group, Bell’s Track, Makererua St Reserve Care Group and The Green Belters.
- The Te Araroa Trail site has comprehensive information on the Ngaio stretch of the trail (Skyline walkway and Bell’s track), including downloadable maps.
- Adventure Smart has outdoor safely information.
- Wellington City Council has maps and brochures on some of our reserves and walkways such as the Northern Walkway, the Skyline Walkway and Trelissick Park. Two heritage trails go through Ngaio.
- The Regional Council’s cycling and walking journey planner.
- Guide to wheelchair- and baby buggy-accessible walkways in Wellington.