Last Updated: 20th May 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done

Polhill to Turbine loop

Wellington, Wellington

Submitted by Cate Shave

Last Updated: 20th May 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 13 ?

Gnarl Factor: 21 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Urban fringe


Undulating, some big hills

Dog Friendly

Native bush

Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +10.9%

Average Downhill Gradient: -12.0%


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Estimated Times to Run







A lovely winding bush track that involves a steady climb along easy single track up through the Polhill Reserve (the trails to take are Transient, followed by the west section of Highbury Fling, then the 4WD Fenceline Track) up to the Brooklyn Wind Turbine for fantastic views across to the west to the Makara Turbines, the city, Wellington Harbour to Lower Hutt and Eastbourne, and out to the South Coast.

Then mix it up on the way back down by taking the Sawmill Track down to Ashton Fitchett Drive, some long flights of stairs to get you back onto Transient, and then switching onto a good downhill with some moderate technical single track back to the start point at the Aro St entrance of the Polhill Reserve.

Start on the track named 'Transient', about 1.1km up you'll hit a 4WD track and turn right onto this. After 100m, the Transient trail resumes, branching off the 4WD track to the right. Keep following the Transient trail markers until you get to the 3.4km mark, when Transient takes a hard hairpin to the left follow it over the new bridge and join you up with Highbury Fling. Follow this until you hit the fenceline to Zealandia (at about the 4.7km mark).

Turn left and follow the 4WD along the 'Fenceline' track all the way up to the Brooklyn Turbine. Once you've enjoyed the views from the top, backtrack 1km along the Fenceline trail until it splits into two 4WD tracks - take the right hand fork down the hill (the is the 'Sawmill' trail, but you won't see markers for it until a bit further down the hill). Follow Sawmill all the way down to Ashton Fitchett Drive, turn left and just a few metres down the hill there are two trails off to your left. Take the lower (right hand) trail which drops you down quite a few flights of stairs until you hit Transient trail again.

Turn right at this point on Transient, and carry on about another 250m, taking the *second* walkers only track which branches off to the left. [Note, if you're a novice, you may prefer to stay on Transient and just retrace this trail back to your starting point. This walkers only track is steep at points, and more technical, and better suited to intermediate level runners.] Following the walker track down the hill, you'll cross a MTB trail about 200m on (you'll pass through a wooden fence at this point), and then a bit further on you'll come to a multiple branch point - make sure you turn right along the side of the hill at this point, following the sign that points to Aro Street. Keep following the main trail down the hill, and in about another 500m you'll pop out back at the Aro St entrance to Polhill Reserve, just where you started.

Great views of the city and harbour, plus lots of native birdlife spilling over from the nearby Zealandia sanctuary (ruru/morepork, tīeke/saddleback, kākā, piwakawaka/fantail). If you know where to look, you can even find Peripatus (velvet worms in the phylum Onychophora).

Aro Park in Aro Street.

The roadside at the trail entrance is now a bike lane with yellow lines. Limited parking is available on Holloway Road, or alternatively park at George Denton Park in Highbury and start/finish the trail there.

3 km

9 minutes




Perfect throughout.

Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

None - carry all that you need

If it's been wet, the trails will be muddy - trail shoes are advised.

This is a shared space with most of the trails being used by mountain bikers as well as runners, so keep an ear out for bikers coming in either direction.

Aro Cafe
90 Aro Street
Great coffee and food - lunch and brunch (7 days) and dinner (Wednesday to Saturday).

Garage Project
91 Aro Street
Sooooooo many great beer options!

83 Aro Street
Again, excellent coffee and bread and cakes, including vegan options (their dark chocolate raspberry cake is super yum!)

Trail Legend


Katrina Walter

has completed Polhill to Turbine loop once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Awesome single track from Aro Street - perfect in a Wellington Southerly, plenty of shelter from wind and rain. Gets a bit more exposed on the track up to the Wind Turbine. Note that part of Transient has been diverted to accommodate MTB tracks (so the gpx file is slightly out of date), but the WildThings algorithm still matched my route with this trail.

David Hosking

February 7, 2022

I also did this in reverse as enjoy running down Transient, though inevitably encounter traffic going the other way! I also ran up Windmill to the Turbine rather than going up and down the Fenceline track for some more variety.

Joe Benbow

July 31, 2020

Great urban 10km trail loop. Now that I've done it once regulararly stopping to check in on the WT route description, I'll be able to do it a little faster next time. This would be a good loop to improve on your personal FKT!Note that you actually need to turn LEFT at Ashton Fitchett Drive when you finish the Sawmill. The guide says to turn right.

Sarah Haerewa

July 10, 2020

Really good gradient to run up. Fabulous to see and hear so many birds in the trees. I crossed over onto Car Parts to reach the Turbine, instead of following the Fence Line Track all the way up - it was a little less steep.

Jo Fink

July 3, 2020

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