From the Mount Victoria lookout, Wellington was all around us.
It is my favourite view of the city, boasting 360-degree panoramas of Wellington’s eastern harbour bays, the airport, the Hutt Valley, the local Island, and the Miramar Peninsula.
For us, getting here was half the fun. We hiked to the top, and I promise you, the views were well worth the effort.
And, to be honest, the expression “hiking Mount Victoria” is probably a bit of an exaggeration. It’s more of a moderate uphill 2.6-kilometre walk (short loop), sometimes on a dirt path, other times on the fully paved public road, but never very difficult.
Getting to Mount Victoria Lookout
Walking to the top isn’t the only option; it’s just our favourite. Plus, it’s one of the many free things to do in New Zealand’s capital city.
Jog, walk, stroll, hike, drive, bike, or take the bus.
The choice is yours, but do get to the Mount Victoria lookout if you are in Wellington.
A bit of trivia:
From 1877 to 1900, the bronze cannon fired daily at noon to signal time.
Mount Victoria Lookout Walkway
Walking is easy. The main path is well-signposted.
There are two options for walking to the Mount Victoria lookout from the city, one about twice as far as the other, but neither is too long. And both start downtown.
The trails are generally hard-packed dirt paths, fully paved public roads or stairs.
As the destination is the 196-metre summit, you know there are some steeper parts. As a result, a moderate fitness level is recommended for either walk.
And if that’s not enough, just when you think you are exhausted and can’t take another step, a local jogger will breeze by as if it were flat.
From Oriental Parade, it took us about 90 minutes to reach the summit and come back down to Courtenay Place, as we took the longer trail in the less traditional direction.
Typically, the longer trail (4.6 km) starts on Courtenay Place, then up Majoribanks Street to the summit, returning to Oriental Bay.
You can cut the loop nearly in half by starting at the top of either Majoribanks Street or Bayview Terrace. A loop above the Charles Plimmer dog exercise park will reduce the walk to about 45 minutes or 2.6km.
Drive to the top
There is plenty of free parking at the top, should you be in Wellington with a car. Unless we have driven down from Auckland, we rarely have a car when we visit Wellington.
It’s an easy city to get around on foot, and parking is expensive in most places, albeit free at Mount Victoria Lookout.
Vehicle access is via Alexandra Road.
More ways to the top
If you don’t want to drive or walk, the number 20 bus will take you to the top.
Or, if you want to include it on a bigger day, Mount Victoria’s lookout is a stop on this electric bike tour of Wellington.
Practical tips on walking to the Mount Victoria Lookout
- It can be quite windy at the top, so we recommend a windproof jacket. . There is a reason for the city’s nickname, Windy Wellington.
- You can download a Mt Victoria lookout web map from the Wellington City Council.
- The summit is a great place to enjoy sunrise or sunset.
- Dogs are allowed on leads (if outside the dog exercise areas).
- It’s a shared trail, and bikes give way to pedestrians.
- The Lord of the Rings fans will want to know that part of Mount Victoria served as the outskirts of the Shire during filming.
- There is also a Mount Victoria in Devonport.
- At 196 metres, the Mount Victoria lookout is taller than any natural point in Auckland.
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