New Zealand’s hilliest city, there are many places around Wellington offering spectacular views. Here is how I would rank 18 of the highest points around the city…
1. Johnston’s Hill, 360m
I may be biased as this is the closest hill to my house, but Johnston’s Hill offers it all – a great walk up through native bush, and views of the city, wind turbines, and the South Island on a clear day. It is named after John Johnston, one of Wellington’s early European settlers who arrived in 1843, and was made a public recreation domain in 1942.
2. Stellin Memorial Park Lookout, ~280m
Although slightly lower than Te Ahumairangi Hill, on the slopes of which Stellin Memorial Park lies, this offers much better views, possibly the best of the CBD and inner harbour. It is named after Wellingtonian James Stellin, who died in France in 1944 when his damaged Hawker Typhoon crashed. Thanks to his efforts though it avoided landing in the village of Saint-Maclou-la-Brière and killing more people.
3. Brooklyn Hill, 299m
An iconic sight on the Wellington skyline, marked by a lone wind turbine. The original was installed in 1993 as a trial, and replaced in 2016 with a larger version, which generates enough power to provide electricity to around 490 homes.
4. Mount Victoria, 196m
Probably the most popular city lookout, offering great views of the CBD and out toward the airport. It is part of the Wellington Town Belt, recreational ground set aside from development in 1841 by farsighted settlers. There are equally good views along the road north of the lookout itself.
5. Makara Hill, 412m
On the edge of the developed city, Makara Hill lies at the western end of Karori, one of the largest suburbs in Wellington. It is home to a world-class mountain bike park with 40km of tracks, set up in 1998. The sign post at the summit includes many other famous mountain biking locations.
6. Mount Kaukau, 445m
Easily recognisable by hosting Wellington’s main television transmitter tower, Mount Kaukau does offer sweeping views, but personally I find the summit often relatively busy and the lookout platform is bit of a feature.
7. Mount Albert, 182m
One of the highest points on the Southern Walkway, Mount Albert offers diverse views across the eastern part of the city.
8. Wrights Hill, 300m
The opposite side of the Zealandia valley from Brooklyn Hill, Wrights Hill is home to a number of WW2 era gun emplacements and tunnels, along with more epic views of this beautiful city.
9. Rangituhi / Colonial Knob, 468m
The second highest summit here, Rangituhi / Colonial Knob towers over Porirua below, with views of Mana Island and the snow capped mountains on the South Island on a clear day. Porirua Harbour is the only drowned river valley system in the Wellington region.
10. Boulder Hill, 442m
At the northern end of Belmont Regional Park in Lower Hutt, Boulder Hill has impressive views toward Porirua and across the Hutt Valley.
11. Cable Car Lookout ~130m
Not the highest part of the hill but one of the most iconic viewpoints of the city, particularly when a cable car is passing by.
12. Belmont Trig, 456m
At the southern end of Belmont Regional Park, Belmont Trig offers more impressive views.
13. Hawkins Hill, 495m
One of the highest points in the Wellington region, Hawkins Hill is home to the distinctive and quite surreal dome housing Wellington Airport’s radar.
14. Te Ahumairangi Hill, 301m
Formerly known as Tinakori Hill, Te Ahumairangi Hill is home to many great views, but the view from the main lookout is somewhat obstructed by bush. The white and red tower is a microwave repeater which handles television signals and mobile coverage.
15. The Crow’s Nest, 385m
One of the highest points of the Skyline Track (which runs between Makara Hill and Mount Kaukau), The Crow’s Nest offers a different perspective on the city.
16. Mount Alfred, 133m
South of Mount Victoria on the Southern Walkway, Mount Alfred was once home to a pa site. By the standards of Wellington lookouts the views are a little average.
17. Mount Crawford, 163m
The highest point on Miramar Peninsula, close to the now closed Mt Crawford Prison, the summit is on private land and inaccessible. Just down from it though walking toward the Massey Memorial offers some good views.
18. Te Kopahou, 485m
Frustratingly on private land, though there are still impressive views from close by around the wonderful Te Kopahou Reserve.