Eastbourne Ridge LoopIntermediate
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Undulating, some big hills
Fastest Known Times (FKTs)
Can be run in either direction
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This route is part of the T8 Three+ Collection
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!
Features of interest
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: http://www.gw.govt.nz/Butterfly-Creek/
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 10%
Technical Single Track: 15%
Moderate Single Track: 15%
Easy Single Track: 25%
Sealed Road: 35%
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
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This loop starts and finishes at the Days Bay Pavilion at Williams Park, opposite the Days Bay Wharf on Marine Drive.
You can do variations of this loop starting and finishing at a number of different access points from Lowry Bay in the north through to the Bus Depot in the south.
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.
Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .
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.
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.
Post run indulgence
Days Bay Pavillion
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.
Sponsor this trail
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