“A hilly trail with stunning coastal views and a stretch on the beach.”
— Kay Steinkamp
This route is quickly reached by car from downtown Wellington and combines the well-known Tip Track
, Red Rocks Track - Pari-Whero
, and a beach section (Sinclair Head Track
). The route is, in parts, seriously steep and follows exposed ridgelines with exceptional panoramic views towards the ocean as well as the town on the other side.
Need to Know
Between kilometer 6 and 10, the track is very exposed and the notorious Wellington winds are not to be underestimated. There are some rocky sections requiring some degree of surefooted-ness. The beach section is mostly gravel with a few sandy stretches.
Due to the length of the track, it is advisable to bring water, especially in summer.
From the carpark at the Te Kopahou Visitor Centre, follow the road back towards the town (with the ocean to your right). After 1 km, turn left and follow the road going gently uphill.
After another 1.5 km, you'll find the entrance of the Tip Track
(an old 4WD track) on your left, marked with a barrier. The track is steep but manageable all the way, winding up through bushy hills, some of which still showing signs of a summer bush fire a few years ago.
Shortly before reaching the end of the Tip Track
, in sight of the radar dome on Hawkins Hill, turn left onto the Red Rocks Track - Pari-Whero
that follows the top of the ridgeline towards the ocean. Soak in those views - from here the trail is pure joy! It is still hilly, but on average descending. After coming down to the beach, turn left onto the Sinclair Head Track
and follow the beach until you get back to the carpark.
Flora & Fauna
You will find bushland and might spot possums if you're lucky.