Polhill to Turbine loopBeginner - Intermediate
Submitted by Cate Shave
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Undulating, some big hills
Beginner - Intermediate
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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.
Features of interest
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).
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 0%
Technical Single Track: 0%
Moderate Single Track: 15%
Easy Single Track: 50%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 35%
Gravel Road: 0%
Sealed Road: 0%
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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The entrance to the Polhill Reserve is well marked, just past the the last house (No. 231) on the south side Aro Street before Holloway Road. When you enter the Reserve, the main track (Transient) is pretty much directly in front of you and is well marked.
There is some parking on the streets around, although it's busy when university is in session. Parking is free for the first two hours, coupon parking after that.
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.
Post run indulgence
90 Aro Street
Great coffee and food - lunch and brunch (7 days) and dinner (Wednesday to Saturday).
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!)
Sponsor this trail
See other runs nearby:
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WUU2k - 42km Route
Red Rocks Loop
Otari-Wilton's Bush Loop
Barking Mad on Barking Emu
Aro Valley - Red Rocks Thigh Buster
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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