Skyline - Mt KaukauBeginner - Intermediate
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Out and Back
Undulating, small hills only
Open farmlandsOpen ridges/tops
Beginner - Intermediate
This route is part of the La Cloche Wellington Trails Collection
Starting at Makara Saddle follow the signs for Skyline and/or Mt Kaukau. Along the open tops there are a mixture of signs, poles, warratahs, and orange disks to keep you on route. You'll spot Mt Kaukau with its transmission tower in the distance... keep aiming for that. Mt Kaukau has a lookout deck and is the turn around point.
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Features of interest
A popular run/walk/ride that will provide amazing views on clear sunny days, or will make you feel like you're in a tornado on a bad day. When there's no wind and the sun is shining there is no better place to run in Wellington making it possibly a 5 star run, but that combination can be a rarity and on a bad day you may rate it as a 1 star.
The track traverses Wellingtons predominant western skyline ridge offering views over Wellington harbour, city and western suburbs to the east, or over the Makara/Ohariu Valley farmland and Cook Straight to the west. The ridgeline is mostly open grassy farmland with pockets of regenerating native bush below.
This run can be done either as a one way or return starting in Johnsonville, Khandallah, or Karori with many alternative entry and exit points depending on what you feel up to. This description is for the return from Makara Saddle which is popular due to parking availability and the return from Mt Kaukau being easier.
Make Up of Run
Moderate Single Track: 5%
Easy Single Track: 15%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 80%
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
Head through Karori to the end of Karori Rd following signs towards Makara, turn right into Makara Rd. At the saddle you'll see the start of the track on your right signposted as Skyline.
There is parking available at the saddle of Makara Rd for a few cars, or 10m further on at the Makara Rd entrance to Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park. This is a reasonably busy road so cars are generally safe, but don't leave valuables in plain sight.
You can catch the Karori Park #3 bus to the end of the line dropping you near the bottom of Makara Rd. Either head up Makara Rd for 1km to the start of the track or take the Wahine trail at the back of Karori Park (also at the end of the bus route) up to the start of the Skyline Trail.
Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .
On the way back towards Makara Saddle there is one point where you need to keep an eye out, or else you'll be heading south along a parallel ridgeline taking you to British Peak along private farmland instead of Makara Saddle.
At about the 13.5km mark into the run after you climb up away from the power pylons you cross under that drop down into Crofton Downs, there is a farm track that heads right and looks like the main route... don't be fooled by this, stick left and follow the orange disks on the fenceline until you rejoin the well trodden path.
Long-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map.
There is no water on route. Either fill up from home or at Karori Park.
The track is exposed to strong winds all year around so don't head up there in a gale warning unless you need your head cleared. Wellington is known as the windy city and Mt Kaukau is often recording Wellington's strongest gusts of wind. After a lot of rain especially in winter parts of the trail can be churned up by cows.
If you are taking a dog with you, a lot of the trail is through working farms. There are cows that have been known to stomp on dogs, especially when calving. Dogs are supposed to be leashed at all times, but if they're not, make sure they are around the farm animals.
- Post run indulgence
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See other runs nearby:
Makara Peak Grand Loop
West Wind Makara
Ataturk to Pass Of Branda Loop
WUU2k - 42km Route
Red Rocks Loop
Otari-Wilton's Bush Loop
Barking Mad on Barking Emu
Aro Valley - Red Rocks Thigh Buster
Polhill to Turbine loop
Park 2 Peak 2 Park
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