Mount Victoria
Photo by Stephen Day

Mt Vic: Loop of Faith

Chandima KulathilakeRunning coach Chandima Kulathilake from RunWellington shares one of his favourite trail runs with us as his entry in our favourite track competition. The following is an extract from the Mt Vic: Loop of Faith article originally published by RunWellington.

"You can’t go wrong with a run on the trails of Mount Victoria. With easy access and a great trail network, this is one of the best road-to-trail options within 5 mins from the busy Wellington CBD. Mount Victoria or Mt Vic, as it is known to many of local runners, is simply not to be missed.

Distance: About 10 kilometres, with plenty of options to add extra distance.
Elevation: About 350m up and the same down; the summit with the Lookout is at 197m.
Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate trails with a rooty section. There are some additional advanced sections of trail on Mt Vic, so it’s really up to you how steep you want to go up and how steep you like your downhills.
Estimated time: Anywhere from 50 minutes at high speed; to a two-hour meander.

There are in fact many possible start and end points for a run in Mt Vic. The loop outlined here starts and finishes at Freyberg Pool – a convenient meeting spot and within a few minutes from coffee, cake and/or beer.

Directions: Start from near Freyberg Pool and head towards Oriental Parade beach and past Beach Babylon café on the other side of the road. You will have to cross the road on to the right side before the Grafton street bus stop, and look for a sign outlining the trail network.

From here head up the concrete path that zig-zags its way to a series of apartments. Turn right at the top, and continue on the gravel path until you drop slightly into a trail junction. Just continue straight, climbing toward where you see some steps heading up. The next bit is a bit steep but eventually it will flatten out, so give it your all. Continue on up and you’ll come to the Telford street climb where the path goes sharply up to end at Palliser Road.

Take a breather and cross the road. You’ll see the signpost ¨Southern Walkway¨ and some wooden steps, this is where the trail continues. As you climb the steps and continue you’ll notice a steep trail that goes up. Just ignore it and watch your step as this part is full of roots. Enjoy the softer ground while you run along the side of the hill.

You will soon pop out to a small clearing with another steep trail immediately to your left. Ignore that too, and just go right across (or straight) and you’ll find a single trail that goes somewhat parallel through the trees but slightly uphill, eventually coming out to the top at a grassy clearing with another sign.

From here you can choose to go straight up to the Lookout or continue your meander on the lower trail towards Alexandra Road bypassing the summit trail and heading towards the zoo. You’ll have a great view of the city as you run towards the south, and get a glimpse of the South Coast and the airport. You’ll pop out to a grass field.

Turn left and cross the field along the edge to find the trail on the other side. If you head to the right, this trail will drop you down to the road, which you will cross to continue on the path. Follow this trail alongside the road until you come to a crossroads. Turn left as you drop into a dip, then drop down into the Hataitai velodrome. At the northern end of the Velodrome take the single track that’s next to the power substation and zigzags through the trees back up to Alexandra Road.

Now you are ready to take the main trail all the way to the top of Mt Vic. You would have done about 7 km by now. Go along the ridge all the way to the top of Mt Vic and enjoy the panoramic view of Wellington and the coastline. 

Getting back into town is pretty easy, just take any trail/road combination that heads down to Oriental Parade and you are back in the city!"


Trivia: Mt Vic is also a good place to hide if you were being hunted by Nazgûl sent by the Witch-King of Angmar. 

Mount Victoria, Wellington