One of the things I adore about my hometown, which I didn’t not fully appreciate when I was younger, is all the amazing walks, hikes, trecks, trails etc that are all over the place. When we were back visiting family, I feel that all we seemed to do was go on bike rides, walks and eat, which wasn’t all that bad.
One of the “newer” trails in the Wellington Region is the Escarpment Track which basically connects Pukerua Bay to Paekakariki (or vice versa). The trail is about 10k and climbs to appro 200 meters about the Tasman sea, give you spectacular views across the rugged coastline, though not for the faint hearted/those afraid of heights. You can walk the route either way, however I personally prefer going from Pukerya Bay to Paekakariki as there is a large number of stairs in the middle of the walk, and I prefer to go up them than down. Council information say that the walk takes between 3-4 hours, however, from my experience it is less than 3, though be mindful of your abilities and limits and go at your own pace.
How to get there:
Train: Kapiti line from Wellington to either Paekakriki or Pukerua Bay train station. More information around timetables and fares here: Metlink
Drive: There is no parking at the start of the trail so you will have to leave your car at one of the train stations. Note that there is a 2 hour parking limit.
1. Make sure you are prepared for this walk, as the track itself is very exposed with little shelter, it is especially not recommended to be done in heavy rain or with strong winds blowing.
2. If it is hot, make sure to bring lots of water and sunscreen, being extremely exposed, on sunny days it is easy to get dehydrated and/or burnt, also there is no water points on the trail.
3. There are next to no barriers so if you have a fear of heights or suffer from vertigo, it is not recommended.
4. Though not necessary to have hiking/tramping shoes to do this, they will only make the experience more comfortable.
5. The weather in New Zealand can be a bit unpredictable, so even it looks like a beautiful day, double check the weather, and it doesn’t hurt to bring a jacket – just in case.Finally, enjoy it!