Take it all in
This summer, we're encouraging you to explore further into the sanctuary and take notice of things you may not normally see or hear.
Take time to explore tracks you've never walked before, look further beyond the trees for different views of the valley. Listen closer for wildlife rustling or calling nearby. Pause at one of the many benches or picnic tables throughout the valley and see what wildlife comes to visit you. Breathe deeply and wind down in nature. Take it all in.
The sanctuary spans across 225 hectares with 32km of tracks to explore and so there is an adventure for everyone and all abilities.
We’ve put together three track loops for you to explore based on your needs. Check them all out below.
Easy (Wheelchair Accessible) 1-1.5hrs
This track begins at the Visitor Centre and takes you along Lake Road, which is a flat track that is tarsealed or gravelled. You can visit New Zealand’s oldest reptile, the tuatara, basking in the sun in the Research Area and then get a close view of the kākā at the feeders. Listen closely as you walk along and you’ll see birds flitting in the trees and potentially kārearea, kererū and kākā flying high above.
Medium 2+ hrs
Want to forget you’re only minutes from the centre city? Then this track is for you! Experience beautiful bush with dappled light and a bubbling stream throughout Te Māhanga track. Listen closely to hear the high-pitched call of the titipounamu, New Zealand’s smallest birds, as they forage for food for their new chicks. You’ll cross the upper dam and get a wonderful view of Wellington’s old water supply which is now home to a range of duck species and our freshwater mussel, kākahi (though they’re hidden below the surface).
You’ll encounter the swing bridge which gives you a view of the forest from a bird’s perspective – looking down over a canopy of different native trees. Then you’ll be back on Lake Road for an easy wander back to the Visitor Centre.
Advanced 3.5+ hrs
Want to get your heart rate up? This track is for those who want a bit more of a challenge, while getting to see all of the great stuff on the easier tracks. You’ll also encounter less people and more wildlife further into the sanctuary so take a moment to stop and listen to the bird song that surrounds you and to look at any movement in the trees and you might be surprised of who comes to visit! This track will take you up close to the Brooklyn Wind Turbine and give you some great views from across Wellington.
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