Paekakariki Escarpment Track

One of the most accessible parts of Te Araroa, the 3,000km trail stretching the length of New Zealand, the Paekakariki Escarpment Track is a particularly scenic 9.5km walk, easily accessible by train, only 35 mins from Wellington CBD.dsc08434

I started at the Pukerua Bay station end, which gets most of the steepest parts, and steps, out of the way sooner, and offers the best views ahead of you toward Paekakariki. I hadn’t found anything before I did the walk recommending a direction but I’d strongly recommend this way, though if you’re driving you’ll need to start from the Paekakariki station end for parking.dsc08340

After a short wander through streets you’re quickly on the track, which remains single file narrow almost the whole way. It runs alongside the railway line before soaring above it, high on the hillside for spectacular views, back to Pukerua Bay, out to Kapiti Island, and ahead to beaches of Paekakariki.dsc08356 dsc08363 dsc08387 dsc08390 dsc08394 dsc08401 dsc08410 dsc08415 dsc08417 dsc08422 dsc08425 dsc08428 dsc08435 dsc08445

These views require some effort though, climbing innumerable steps, and crossing a couple of swing bridges. It took me two hours, but I did run much of the second half downhill to Paekakariki.dsc08383 dsc08396 dsc08412 dsc08441

It’s a bit of a shock to finish the track alongside a state highway with cars rushing by. Paekakariki itself is worth a quick explore for the beach, heritage buildings, and small museum in the station itself.dsc08455 dsc08463 dsc08464 dsc08465 dsc08475 dsc08477 dsc08479 dsc08481 dsc08488

Author: jontycrane

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