Last Updated: 20th May 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done

Sanctuary Fenceline

Wellington, Wellington

Submitted by Helen Carrington

Last Updated: 20th May 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 12 ?

Gnarl Factor: 12 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run



Undulating, some big hills

Dog Friendly

Native bush


Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +9.4%

Average Downhill Gradient: -11.7%


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Estimated Times to Run







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.

This trail includes the peak Wrights Hill.

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

There is a toilet in the Sanctuary building (before you pay to go in). Otherwise Ben Burn Park on Campbell St or the main entrance of the cemetery.

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




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!

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.

Trail Legend


David Hosking

has completed Sanctuary Fenceline twice in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Ran clockwise, starting at the scout hall. Track was very easy to follow, with beautiful views along the way. It gets very windy at the top, so make sure all your items are thoroughly attached (my jacket nearly blew away).

Ben Demeyer

September 20, 2023

Interesting mix of 4WD track and single track. Some of the trail at the bottom end of the fenceline is a bit overgrown but still runnable. I did the route on a wet day (after a few other wet days) and it was a bit of a mudfest - particularly on the singletrack portion down to the scout hall. Also it was fairly exposed to the weather most of the way around, so much nicer experience on a fine day...!

David Hosking

July 24, 2023

So easy to follow if you are navigationally challenged! Some really steep sections (I ran clockwise) and a couple signs diverting you onto an alternate path. Amazing views!

Jennifer Bepko

March 22, 2022

Enjoyed the run, will definitely do it again and saw my first Saddleback.

Michelle de la Rey

December 12, 2021

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