Last Updated: 30th Jan 2024


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Rangitatau Plane Spotting

Wellington, Wellington

Submitted by Richele McKenzie

Last Updated: 30th Jan 2024


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Grunt Factor: 7

Gnarl Factor: 18







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Trail Map

Type of Run

Urban fringe


Undulating, small hills only

Dog Friendly

Native bush


Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Sealed Road

Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +9.2%

Average Downhill Gradient: -9.2%


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Estimated Times to Run







Starting on Moa Point Road, head right down Stewart Duff Drive to the sign saying "Kekerenga Street Reserve".

Head up the driveway and soon you will see the track starting on the left. Follow this to the first intersection, where you turn right and pop out at the Kekerenga St playground. Head right again and continue to another sign saying "Palmer Head Navigational Aid Site". This takes you to the bunkers.

After a quick look around the bunkers continue along the old paved path until you see another track on the right (approx 1.5km from the start of your run). This takes you down to Tarakena Bay. Then head up hill towards the dog exercise area (not towards the Ataturk memorial), swing left near the top and you come out at Bowes Crescent.

After a short dash up Bowes, turn left onto Birkhall and look for the track with a small sign "to Ahuriri Street". This takes you along more old overgrown paved path (almost as good as trail!) until you pass the trail you had taken to Tarakena Bay. This time head back towards the bunkers, then back down the start at Moa Point.

Make sure you take time to check out the views and watch the planes landing. The views make up for the amount of tarmac on this trail.

History: Rangitatau Reserve takes its name from a Ngāi Tara pā which was situated on the headland on the western side of Tarakena Bay. Poito Pā was located below it on a low spur in the valley. The two pā were built to protect the sea approach to a third pā site in Worser Bay, but both were destroyed by raiders in 1819 -1820. The Poito track from the Tarakena Bay car park winds up to the left towards the pā sites, then joins the sealed road near the airport navigation beacon. World War II fortifications are at the end of this headland. (

There is usually plenty of street parking along Moa Point Road. Wellington Airport is very close - a good opportunity for a leg stretch if you're waiting to pick someone up.

8 km

12 minutes




Perfect throughout.

Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.


As per most Wellington trails, the tops may be challenging when windy.

Take care not to get too close to the edge while checking out the ruins.

Spruce Goose
30 Cochrane Street, Rongotai
Coffee and plane spotting

Parrotdog Brewery
60/66 Kingsford Smith St, Lyall Bay
Beer and burgers. And your dog can come too!

Trail Legend

Tom Brennan

Tom Brennan

has completed Rangitatau Plane Spotting once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Fantastic little loop if you have some time to kill at the airport, thanks for sharing

Tom Brennan

January 29

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