Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Eastbourne Ridge Loop

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 25 ?

Gnarl Factor: 36 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Urban fringe


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush



Run Makeup


Sealed Road

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +7.9%

Average Downhill Gradient: -8.3%


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Estimated Times to Run







This description is for the full loop in the anticlockwise direction which is easier than the clockwise direction. You can also create a number of different shorter loops by taking any of the numerous entry and exit tracks along this route.

Starting at Williams Park, head out to Marine Drive and head south towards Eastbourne, which eventually turns into Muritai Road. South of Eastbourne past most of the houses you'll hit the Bus Depot, the Bus Barn track is signposted at the southern end and heads straight up.

At the Kowhai St track intersection follow the signs down towards Butterfly Creek. At the bottom of the hill you can take the return trip to Butterfly Creek or head north following the stream up the gorge towards the Muritai Park track. You climb back up to the main ridge which you want to stay on until the MacKenzie Track where the Hawtrey 'Route Only' section starts directly behind the signpost.

This is where the track is trickier to follow, look out for the orange disks that are spaced out every 3m or so. If you don't see the next orange marker from the current one, stop and go back as there are lots of trap line tracks running off all over the place. The route is relatively well trodden but is not maintained so pay attention as it's rooty, rough, and slippery in the wet.

After approximately 2km you hit the Main Ridge Track. This is back to walking track standard with lots of signposts and undulates along to the turn off to Mt Lowry with numerous tracks heading back down towards the harbour. Take the Cheviot Rd track down to Lowry Bay where you rejoin Marine Drive and head south back to Williams Park to complete the loop.

NOTE: A new gpx file for this run was added 18 May 2021, so please ignore comments in the Reviews!

The beech forest along the eastern hills of Wellington harbour is the closest beech forest to Wellington city, as it is not naturally found in the Wellington city area. The open dryer feeling of beech forest makes for a change from Wellington's typical denser broadleaf bush, farmland, or regenerating scrub. The proximity of the whole route to the water offers fantastic views over Wellington Harbour with Matiu-Somes and Ward Islands in the foreground and Wellington City in the distance. As well as the beech trees, rata and rimu are relatively common along with bird life of kakariki, kereru, riflemen, tui and bellbird.

A side trip can be taken to Butterfly Creek at the southern section of this route, a popular picnic spot about 6km from Williams Park heading in the clockwise direction. More information can be found here about the history of Butterfly Creek:

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

There are several options for transport: 1) drive and park at Williams Park which has a reasonably safe and busy car park or out on the main road where there are a number of parks available, 2) catch the East by West Ferry to Days Bay ($11 one way - 30 mins trip) from Queens Wharf area in Wellington, 3) or catch the Eastbourne bus from Wellington. Bus stops right out front of Williams Park.

10 km

15 minutes




The whole route is straight forward EXCEPT the Hawtrey Route between the MacKenzie Track and Main Ridge Track. This is a route only but is well marked with orange disks. Be careful not to follow one of the many trap lines that run off this route though. If you don't see the next orange marker, stop and look around.

Apart from the Hawtrey Route section, the first part from the Bus Depot is wide and gravelled, and the Main Ridge Track is wide and well signposted.

Generally good.

Thermal leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map

Fill up at Williams Park with the intention of carrying all your water, There is water available from the Butterfly Creek stream but unsure how safe it is. Apart from that there is no other water until you hit Lowry Bay.

Hot and dry in the summer, can be cold, muddy and slippery in the winter.

Pay extra attention on the Hawtrey Route for navigation and to the roughness of the terrain.

Days Bay Pavillion
Williams Park
Right at the start/finish with good pizza, ice creams and good coffee.

Chocolate Dayz Cafe
614 Marine Drive, Days Bay
Just outside Williams Park, Chocolate Dayz Cafe is a popular destination for those coming over from Wellington, especially on the ferry. Hands down the best coffee and food in Days Bay.

Trail Legend

ross anderson

ross anderson

has completed Eastbourne Ridge Loop once in the last year.

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Fastest Known Times (FKTs)

Can be run in either direction

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Trail Reviews

Great ridge to run, road is a tad tough at the end, but good to have a dip when ya finish

Bradley Houghton

January 9, 2022

Plenty of roots along the route and the mud can get deep in areas. Gotta stay alert. Lovely views from the lookout spots and some benches to stop and rest at.

Robert Tiu

September 18, 2021

Other than the road sections, this is a 5-star run in every sense. A mixture of well-groomed trails, boardwalks etc passing the creek with a decent amount of gnarl in the middle section. Fairly sheltered in the bush too. I too followed the gpx too closely and had to do Karl's u-turn! But all in all, I loved this to bits and can't wait to return and explore the reserve some more.

Joe Benbow

September 4, 2020

Great trail, we bounced out at the Ferry road point to make a 15-16km loop and skip the road section at the end. Ridge line in the middle is fun, but be prepared for a fair few short, steep sharp climbs. I now know what I need to work on! Embrace the inner goat! Also, if you download the gps and are following that, when you see a sign and track veering off to the right for the ridge line, heading off from the super maintained track... take it! The GPS file has a little bit where a u-turn is required because the original person missed the turn off too!

Jemma Buckland

August 24, 2020

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