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Sanctuary Fenceline, Wellington

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Sanctuary FencelineBeginner - Intermediate

Submitted by Helen Carrington

Info Info
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Trail Information









Undulating, some big hills

Native bush

Beginner - Intermediate

1:45 (Slow)
1:15 (Moderate)
0:50 (Fast)



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Starting from George Denton park go through the gate to the right of the park if you're standing facing the playground. Choose your direction of travel - most people choose clockwise to get the bigger hills out of the way and to enjoy the downhill single track from Wright's Hill and Birdwood reserve. This description assumes a clockwise direction.

Basically hit the uphill straight away and follow the wide gravel, rocky track up and down and up and down and up to reach Brooklyn Wind Turbine - beware, this first section is not called Rollercoaster for nothing! Take a well earned breather (and obligatory selfie) at the Turbine before continuing along similar formed track to the signs for Wright's Hill and the parade ground. Beware the long uphill grind just before this point, some say it's "the hill that never ends"!

A nice detour can be taken up Wright's Hill via the parade ground ( at the top follow the signs back to the fenceline) but the true loop continues along before dropping down onto some sweet single track switchbacks (follow the signs for Campbell St) to a grassy area with a scout hall. Cross the grass and start to climb again. Here you have the option of a short, slightly less steep track off to the left that rejoins the main track after 20m or so. Continue along the main track, which will eventually turn into some more single track through Birdwood Reserve, dropping down to, and crossing a small stream, before climbing back up to the road to Zealandia Sanctuary. Cross this road and head up the steep concrete zigzags and steps to rejoin the fenceline (it's signposted), continuing along the main trail until you reach some wooden steps on the left of the trail. Go up these and through some more bush, popping out onto the main trail, then it's a bit more climbing to end before you arrive back at George Denton park on your left.

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Features of interest

You're essentially following the predator proof fence line of Zealandia Sanctuary so keep your eyes and ears peeled for native birds.
The new bigger Brooklyn Wind Turbine is always worth a stop for selfies and views
Wrights Hill makes a nice detour too

Make Up of Run

Easy Single Track: 20%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 80%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

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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  • Access

    Playground area of George Denton Park, found at the top of Highbury Road, Te Aro is the most common starting place.
    Alternative starts could be from the Brooklyn Wind Turbine or Zealandia Sanctuary. This description will assume George Denton park as the start.
    Some people choose to run up from Aro St via Polhill reserve. If doing this, the usual route is up Transient and Highbury Fling and then back down Clinical at the end (which is, in my opinion, one of the best downhill trails in Wellington). This will add another 6-7k to your run.

    Small parking area and small amount of street parking by the playground. Would recommend car pooling if you're a large group, but never had any problems parking there. Not really accessible by public transport.

    There's no toilets at the start/finish so make sure you go before you go! Nearest post run cafes/bars (see later) are a short 5 minute drive away on Aro St.

    3 km

    10 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .

    I hope I've covered these in the description above!
    The main ones are:
    At the Wright's Hill junction to stick to the main track just keep going up the next bit of uphill rather than turning off towards the parade grounds. That said, Wright's Hill is a nice detour.
    Make sure you follow the Campbell St signs just after the Wright's Hill junction.
    Make sure you take the wooden steps on the left of the track in the last km or so.

    Otherwise it's pretty difficult to get lost!

    Perfect throughout.

    Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.

    Very little en route, take what you need. There's a tap by the buildings at the top of the concrete zigzags near Zealandia, but that's near the end (if you're doing the route clockwise as described) anyway.

    Generally fairly sheltered even in windy conditions. Can get warm when the sun is out so take sunscreen. Can be slippery on the main track and muddy on the single track sections after wet weather.

    Watch out for mountain bikers, although the track is wide enough to accommodate everyone. Some quite rocky descents, take care of your ankles on these!

  • Post run indulgence

    Aro Cafe
    Aro St, Aro Valley
    Consustently good all round post run food and coffee, good seasonal selections of food, caters well for vegetarians.

    Aro St, Aro Valley
    Good selection of sandwiches, pies and baked goods, I personally recommend the lemon sour cake and their chocolate eclairs were recently described by one runner as "possibly the best eclair I've ever had".

    Garage Project Tap Room
    91 Aro st, Aro Valley
    Quite simply some of the best beer in Wellington, if not New Zealand is served here in this long narrow bar space (don't worry you can stink the other patrons out if there's a large group of you!). Only downside is they only serve little snacks, so no post run hot chips here. They also have their brewery across the road for take aways should you fancy a litre or two of their offerings.

  • Sponsor this trail

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