City to Sea Walkway

The most varied of Wellington’s six walkways, the City to Sea Walkway is a wonderful day walk between Wellington CBD and the south coast through 14 parks and reserves, cemeteries, botanic gardens, and golf courses, with plenty of history and some stunning views. It it well marked with yellow poles, and overlaps with a couple of walkways in places.

It starts at Bolton St Cemetery, demarcated in 1840 when Wellington was established. It’s a beautifully atmospheric place, though a significant part of it was replaced with a motorway in the 1960s, the same fate as Auckland’s Symonds St Cemetery. The cemetery is home to notable New Zealanders including John Plimmer, Alexander Turnballl, the Wakefield brothers, and the country’s longest serving prime minister, Richard Seddon.

From the cemetery the walkway goes through Wellington Botanic Gardens, some of the best in the country, varied and well maintained.

Despite visiting the gardens many times this was the first time I’ve found the Waterfall and Peace Garden, and arriving early I lucked out seeing the water fall for the first time.

At the top is the cable car, one of the more popular photo opportunities in Wellington.

Kelburn Park is a bit of a non-event before the walkway passes through the Victoria University campus. The walkway is well marked but it is definitely worth downloading a map as it is easy to get lost at times.

Surrounded by the University is the rather wonderful Mount St Cemetery, of a similar age to Bolton St Cemetery but separate as it was for Catholics. It is hard to believe but apparently there are ~800 graves in this small hillside section.

The walkway then passes through funky Aro Valley, home to some lovely old houses and little parking.

Central Park is a relatively little known gem between the suburbs of Mt Cook and Brooklyn Hill, established in 1913 and home to atmospheric bush.

A pleasant section runs through Prince of Wales Park, the Town Belt, and Macalister Park with some big views and things of interest including Government House peaking through the trees.

The biggest climb and best views of the walkway follow heading up into the wonderful Tawatawa Reserve.

At the top of the hill is a sculpture of Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata, the iwi chief who lead his people to the Wellington region, and his nephew.

Back down the hillside and off Frobisher St is the Cambodian Buddhist Temple, a lovely spot with a golden stupa and views over the south coast.

More wonderful views heading down to Island Bay, with the South Island’s snow capped Kaikoura Mountains in the distance.

It’s then a short walk to the end / start of the walkway (and the Southern Walkway) at Island Bay’s Shortland Park.

Author: jontycrane

3 thoughts on “City to Sea Walkway

  1. Wellington’s charm never ceases to amaze. What a great exploration of the City to Sea Walkway! Your vivid descriptions, photos and storytelling make me feel like I’m right there with you, and really bring this Wellington gem to life. Thanks! Mike

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