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, 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.
Bus 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 in a bigger day, Mount Victoria’s lookout is a stop on the Wellington Hop-on-Hop-off bus (currently not operating).
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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Mount Vic is such a good hike for great views in a short time. Have you tried the Mount Kaukau hike in the northern suburbs? it’s much higher but the views are spectacular
No, I have not tried that hike but perhaps I will next time I’m in Wellington.
Wow! For such an incredible view, I can scale any height. The Mount Victoria, despite not being towering in height, offers amazing views that are worth enjoying again and again.
I miss hiking! Here in south Mississippi, we don’t really have a lot of hills. When I lived in Louisville, KY, I was hiking several times a week. Loved it! Thanks for sharing with us at Photo Friday!
You can always go on long walks 🙂
What a wonderful family activity and I would definitely say well worth the 107 flights of stairs! The view from Mount Wellington are sensational. My daughter always makes we hike up Mount Coolum on the Sunshine Coast, where she lives each time I visit her. It almost kills me!!
It was the equivalent of 107 flights, not actual stairs. We almost moved to Mooloolaba a few years ago. If we ever get back, Mount Coolum will be on our list.
Lyn (aka) The Travelling Lindfields
I wish your daughter the very best in Argentina. David and I love Argentina, not just Buenos Aires, which is magical but Cordoba, San Miguel de Tucuman and Salta. It is a beautiful country with beautiful people. Will your daughter be studying in Buenos Aires? If she is, tell her to make sure she takes the ferry across to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay for a day or a weekend. It is a magical place. I have done a post on it which I am sure you can find on my blog. If not, message me and I will send you the link. We also did a road trip from Cordoba to Tucuman a few years ago. I ‘m quite envious. If Buenos Aires wasn’t so far D and I would pop across for lunch every second weekend.
She is heading to Santa Fe, and I am not sure how much traveling she will get to do. It is a cultural exchange. She will live with a family as a member of the family, and will go to school. We (hubby and I) will tour at some point however, and will find your post very useful. I have added it here for Sarah and my readers: http://www.thetravellinglindfields.com/p/argentina.html
WoW! Sounds like it was good exercise and the view was great!
Yes to both.
Great exercise and you get the gift at the top that is the fantastic view!
It was a wonderful gift
You are a real little fitness junkie now. You have done so well. Lovely family shot.
LOL – not quite a fitness junkie, but I do make better choices.
Didn’t know you had a travel link:) True, it will never be the same, but once you get used to it you will see your relationship with her will stay the same:)
Love the pic with the stairs and the hiking trail. Some hiking you did!
I have been with Weekend Travel Inspiration for about a year (I think). I know it will all be good, it’s just the transition right now, both girls at once that seems a bit overwhelming.
To be perfectly honest, I would take the bus to the top. It’s just a bit much for me. I can hike a bit on level ground but 107 flights of stairs? Not with my heart. I’m willing but the flesh is weak. That is a very memorable activity for you to share before your nest empties out.
LOL – I am pretty sure one of our girls would have joined you. It was hiking trails, equivalent to 107 flights.
Looks like a perfect hike! Fabulous views from the top!
And all the best to your daughter for her exchange study. Hope she has a great time. 🙂
Surprisingly stunning views – although I don’t know why I was so surprised.
Sign me up! What a great way to spend your last week before the girls set off on some amazing adventures on their own!
I agree, it was a perfect last family holiday together.
Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor
Looks like a great walk. I’ve never hiked up there when I’ve been to Welly. Looking at your pics makes me wish I had.
I hadn’t been up there at all before, but now it will be on my itinerary for every visit.
Hi Rhonda – I can imagine what’s happening to you all right now – lots of emotions … but lots of opportunity for the family … such fun to be around with you all – good luck with the preparations as those count downs come around.
That hike looks just stunning and I’d love to do it – had better get myself exercised … I need to do more – but those views are extraordinary .. congratulations …
Happy week ahead … and good luck to one and all – cheers Hilary
Yes, we are an emotional roller coaster family right now.
Looks like a great hike. Congrats to both your girls! I hope Sarah keeps those photos coming from Argentina!
Sarah promises to post on some of the Sundays. Hopefully she will.
Holy cow! I couldn’t climb 107 stairs let alone 107 *FLIGHTS* of stairs. I once went to the Valley of the Kings to see the different crypts and had to trudge up about 5 flights of stairs and then trudge 3 flights down to see the sarcophagi — EACH crypt is like that and there are like 30 to visit! My calf muscles were screaming at me the next day. Argh. I understand the bittersweet excitement of your babies going off into the world. I’m sure they’ll do great and be back home before you know it. 🙂
I didn’t walk 107 flights, but rather the uphill elevation equivalent of that. The volcanos are like that. However, if you visited 30 crypts each with 5 up and 3 down, then return, you did way more steps than I did.
Why the eye rolling. I’d hike with you.
The short answer: Teens. (Well just one of them would rather take the bus). And I hope we get to hiking together soon.
Agreed, I had no idea it was going to be this amazing, or I would have done it on an earlier visit.
Looks like a perfect hike after a wholesome weekend brunch!
I think we skipped the wholesome brunch, but the hike was great.
Hiking Mount Victoria sounds great to me! With such phenomenal views at the top, I wouldn’t want to miss it.
It really is worth the effort.
L. Diane Wolfe
Hiking and a million stairs – LOL! But what a grand time for your last family outing for a while. We used to hike a lot around the Sandias outside of Albuquerque, NM when we lived there.
Not quite a million – lol. The fitbit counts the elevation change (uphill only). I don’t think we walked on any actual stairs. – I love New Mexico.
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Glad your family got to have one last adventure together before the girls take off. And since I’ve followed you for several years, I can now see how much both of your daughters have grown.
It seems like just yesterday they were babies, now they are going out in the world – hopefully well prepared for whatever lies ahead.
Ah, this is stunningly beautiful, Rhonda. Hiking in a place like this is my ideal way of seeing it. I’d rather do that than take the bus. What a glorious view you had from up there!
So true, it was the journey as much as the destination, although parts were a bit steeper than I prefer.
I’d do the hike rather than taking the bus. What views.
Have a fabulous day Rhonda. 🙂
I didn’t think about the bus for too long, before we decided to hike it.
Beautiful photos! And good luck to your girls on their upcoming adventures. My 3, all grown, live all over the US and now one is moving to Korea – and while it’s so difficult to be far away from them it has made for some fun travels to see them!