Submitted by Joe Benbow
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Undulating, small hills only
Native bushOpen tussock/grasslands
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This is an easy and enjoyable route, taking in the historic cemetery, some sweet single-track running on a couple of tracks that are well-kept secrets (or they were until now), and options to extend on to several other tracks in the area.
From the main cemetery entrance, follow the sealed road straight and down, past literally thousands of dearly departed, until you reach a bend with a 20 speed limit sign with a track off to the left. Take this track and head up the steps when it opens out. At the top of the steps, turn left, then right at the next T-junction, then left at the next T-junction.
A short way up the road you’ll see a wooden sign on the right to Johnston Hill/Skyline Walkway. Take this track and a short way in, turn right at the intersection, heading to Otari-Wilton’s Bush & Skyline Walkway. Enjoy a gradual descent to the next wooden sign, where you carry on straight, marked to Skyline Walkway. You’re now on the Cemetery Skyline Link track, which is a lovely ascent up a tranquil single track. You’ll pass a couple more intersections – just keep following the signs to Skyline Walkway.
Eventually you’ll come to a cross-roads, where Skyline is marked to the left. Don’t turn left here, but instead head straight, signposted Grant’s Track. This is another really enjoyable track that rises through the bush to emerge on a ridge overlooking the western suburbs. Cross a couple of stiles, and at the second one (highest point in the run), turn sharp right and run down the 4WD track signed towards Otari-Wiltons Bush and Chartwell. You’ll cross a cattle grid, and descend for 500m before rising again.
When you come to a left hand bend with the 4WD track splitting in two, look for a small track leading off to the right, pointing to Otari-Wilton’s Bush. Take this track and follow it down, crossing another stile along the way, then continuing down to eventually open out onto a grassy area (flax clearing). Head towards the left corner and take the path heading straight (not the left one). You’ve now joined the red loop track.
Turn right at the T-junction at the bottom and follow the flat trail which takes you over a footbridge and out into the troup picnic area. Toilets and water here if you need. At the far side of the picnic area past the toilets, take the path on the right signed to Karori Cemetery and follow this for 750m until you reach a track heading off to the right over a bridge towards the cemetery. Take this, head up the steps at the top, then follow the road round to the right. One more climb up this road then you’ll see a green Exit sign pointing left. Turn left here and follow the road back down and through the cemetery to the finish.
Features of interest
Karori Cemetery is New Zealand's second largest burial ground, covering nearly 40 hectares. It was the final resting place of about 83,000 people. Today, it is a wealth of Wellington history and a peaceful place to visit.
Make Up of Run
Easy Single Track: 60%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 10%
Sealed Road: 30%
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
Start and finish at the Karori Cemetery Main Entrance at the top of Old Karori Road.
Parking is available round the corner on Rosehaugh Avenue. If taking the bus, take the #2 Karori and get off at the first stop on Karori Road (just past the traffic lights as you turn left at the top of Chaytor St)
Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .
There are lots of track intersections on this route but all are well marked, and there are maps at both Karori Cemetery and Otari-Wilton's Bush
Windproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Cellphone, Map.
Water and toilets are located just inside the entrance at the start/finish, and also at the Troup Picnic Area at Otari-Wilton's Bush
The tracks are generally well-draining and you'll be sheltered for most of the time, so this is a good one for when the weather is keeping you off the hilltops
Post run indulgence
Marsden Village Cafe
153 Karori Road
Good brunch options
Sweet Bakery & Cakery
149 Karori Road
Whittakers hot chocolate, coffee and a selection of sweat treats
One Fat Bird
162 Karori Road
Great revolving selection of local and international craft beers
Sponsor this trail
See other runs nearby:
Makara Peak Grand Loop
Skyline - Mt Kaukau
Ataturk to Pass Of Branda Loop
WUU2k - 42km Route
Red Rocks Loop
Otari-Wilton's Bush Loop
Barking Mad on Barking Emu
Aro Valley - Red Rocks Thigh Buster
Polhill to Turbine loop
Park 2 Peak 2 Park
Swing Into Action
Te Ara Papararangi Views
Mount Kaukau Loop
Johnston Hill Loop
Seton Nossiter Waterfall & Lookout
Huntleigh Park and Crow's Nest
Spooky Gully and the Rocky Shore
Linking the Reserves
Te Ahumairangi Ridgeline
Mid Makara Magic
Te Raekaihau Point