Last Updated: 20th May 2024


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I've done it Done

Oruaiti Reserve

Wellington, Wellington

Submitted by Richele McKenzie

Last Updated: 20th May 2024


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I've done it Done

Grunt Factor: 7 ?

Gnarl Factor: 55 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run


Out and Back

Totally/mostly flat

Dog Friendly



Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Sealed Road

Easy Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +4.0%

Average Downhill Gradient: -9.0%


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Estimated Times to Run







Starting at the Seatoun Wharf run east along the beach, passing the Seatoun Wahine Memorial Garden / Churchill Park on your right.

You will see a trail just after the Hector St carpark. Follow this trail around the coast until it becomes beach. Continue around Point Dorset. Take care if the tide is high, particularly at the point. You will come out on Breaker Bay Beach, where the sand gets a lot harder to run on.

Continue around to the carpark then turn right and run along Breaker Bay Road to the Pass of Branda. Cross the road here and you will see an information board and steep steps. Continue up the steps and it evens out to an easy track, Te Ara O Kupe (here you may like to take a diversion to the right and explore the military installments).

The main trail comes to a major intersection where you turn right, run through the Oruaiti Pa site and follow the signs to the Lookout. Stop at the lookout to admire the view, then turn around and return to the intersection.

This time follow the trail marked "To Te Aroaro O Kupe Steeple Rock Ludlam St Hector St". This follows a small ridgeline and drops you back on the coastal trail where you can return to the Wharf.

Oruaiti Reserve: The top of the ridge was the site of Oruaiti Pā. Fort Dorset Military structures. Excellent views of the harbour from the ridge include: Barrett Reef, which the interisland ferry Wahine struck in 1968 Steeple Rock (Te Aroaro-o-Kupe), where the Wahine finally capsized. Te Aroaro-o-Kupe (‘the presence of Kupe’) is named after the legendary explorer Kupe, who visited the harbour. Find out more here.

Churchill Park Play Area.

Parking available along the road or down further at the reserve. Bus no 2.

10 km

15 minutes




The area on top of the reserve is small so if you take a wrong turn you will find your way again easily.

Generally good.

Short-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

There are public toilets at Churchill Park but unsure whether there is a water fountain.

Exposed to winds any time of the year. Avoid during storms.

Take care on top of the Reserve as there are steep drops.
Exposed to strong winds
Take care along the coast when the tide / swells are high. If in doubt take the higher route there and back.

Scorch O Rama
Scorching Bay
Lovely beach, nice coffee.

Gypsy Kitchen
4 Glamis Ave, Strathmore Park
Great coffee and food.

You and Oruaiti Reserve

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Trail Reviews

Always tough running on thick sand but can’t beat Seatoun on a glorious summers day!

Joe Benbow

January 31, 2021

Dear to my heart, my childhood stomping ground

Tony Sharpe

November 3, 2020

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