Belmont Regional Park - Oakleigh to HillBeginner - Intermediate
Submitted by Conon Ford
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Front country - easily accessible
Point to Point (one way)
Undulating, some big hills
Native bushOpen farmlandsOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/tops
Beginner - Intermediate
The farmed areas of Belmont Regional Park are closed for lambing and calving from the 1 August to end October every year.
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This is an established trail within the Belmont Regional Park. It is fully detailed on easily available maps and is well signposted at most of the main points and intersections. This trail does intersect with other trails within the park and it would be fairly easy to find yourself heading towards another destination if you're not careful. Once you hit the turn off down to Hill Road, you will need to keep an eye out for the track markers. These are the white poles about a metre high with a bright orange disc or triangle on the top. Some of these get knocked over or lose their discs, so try and scan ahead for these to save you time and energy. This trail does take you all the way to Boulder hill and then down to the Dry Creek Quarry entrance, but I chose to head down to the Hill Road entrance. In hindsight, I should've carried on up to Boulder Hill. I've done this trail in reverse as well so starting at the dry Creek entrance is an option too. It's a mean climb up to the top of Boulder Hill but it's worth it. Check out the maps of this area first, as well as the weather conditions. It can get cold and windy very quickly up here so be prepared.
The 'downhill' to the Hill road entrance is pretty rough and takes you through farmland that at the time of writing is being developed and fenced. It is still open to the public though, as long as you stick to the actual tracks. Once you get close to Hill Road, you will pass a small equestrian area which is part of the Belmont Pony Club. So don't be surprised to see a horse or two. Once on to Hill Road, it's a relaxing but fairly steep downhill along the paths to bring you level with the Hutt motorway. Follow the walking path south until you get to the Normandale overbridge. There is a small track about 100 metres before this on the right of the path which takes you to a parking area beside the overbridge. From here, you can either return to your vehicle up the hill in Maungaraki, or cross the bridge over to Lower Hutt. Of course, this last part of the trail can be modified to take you over onto the Hutt River trail, where you can go north or south and extend you run further.
Features of interest
The first part of the trail, once you enter the bush at the Oakleigh Street entrance, is a nice downhill then uphill through native bush that mostly follows a stream and is frequented by Tuis and other birds. You will more than likely encounter other walkers and runners on this part of the trail as it is very popular.
The Belmont Trig is the destination for most walking groups and a great photo opportunity. After this, you will probably be on your own as you follow the ridge north. This takes you through historic World War 2 ammunition bunkers that are placed all over a section of farmland. Lots of sheep around here too, as well as noisy pairs of ducks that like to remind you very loudly that you are not welcome. I encounted a few small hawks or kestrels flying around too. You may see a cow or two, but the sheep will move out of your way.
Make Up of Run
Moderate Single Track: 40%
Easy Single Track: 30%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 15%
Gravel Road: 5%
Sealed Road: 10%
The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each
Begin at the Maungaraki shops where there is parking there and a bus stop.
If you are arriving at the start by car, just park in the parking area outside the Maungaraki shops. Plenty of spaces there during the day. Otherwise, you can get the number 150 bus from Petone railway station to here. This trip only takes about 5 minutes and will cost you $2. Where I finished this trail..that is, when I stopped my Garmin, I was down by the Normandale overbridge so you can either walk back up the hill to your car which will take 10 - 15 minutes (or just keep running) or cross the overbridge and walk to Lower Hutt about 10 minutes away or either Melling or Petone railway stations. Ensure you check the correct timetable for both of these.
Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .
Keep an eye on those track markers after you leave the Belmont Trig. I started down a 4WD track and almost got to a pylon before I realised it was a dead end. So I had to turn and run back uphill to the correct turn off. Most intersections or track deviations are marked or signposted. If you come to a fence and there is no gate or steps to get you over, you are probably at the wrong place. I think I crossed over about 8 or 9 fences.
Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
Take your own water. There are streams down below but after running around farmland that is home to cattle and sheep, you can safely assume that the water is not safe for drinking. It can also get very hot and dry up there, depending on the season.
It can get windy...very windy... up on the ridgeline and on top of the Trig and Boulder Hill if you go that way. Parts of the trail to the Hill Road entrance are crossed by streams which vary from a little jump, to hopping over a couple of rocks, to maybe just getting your feet wet. And it can get a bit muddy here too.
Most of this trail is made for easy to moderate walkers so it's good to run on. The sheep will move and won't be a danger to you, but they may be a danger to themselves if you startle them so give them a bit of room and clap your hands if you need to hurry them along.
The last quarter over the farmland is full of lumpy grass downhills so watch where your feet are going. it would be easy to roll an ankle here. Once you get out onto the path beside the roads, common sense kicks in so be aware of cars and other people. We may be superhuman...just not immortal.
Post run indulgence
If you return to this spot, make sure you grab a coffee from here. Depending on the day of the week and the time you are there, they have all you can eat pancakes and a big selection of other sweet treats, as well as normal cafe food.
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