Hiking up to the Mount Victoria lookout is one of the most popular things to do in Wellington, and yet I visited the city three times before finally crossing it off my list. It was one of the things I most wanted to do–since I’m always looking for the best views–but finding calm, clear weather in Wellington can be quite tough. The city certainly has some beautiful days, but they don’t call it “Windy Wellington” for nothing.
On my first couple of visits to the city, most days were either rainy, windy, or way too chilly –and many times, it was all three at once. While that type of weather is bearable on the streets, high up on a hill, it wouldn’t be as easy to deal with. So I kept putting off the walk up Mount Victoria for next time.
On my third visit to Wellington, I spent a week in an AirBnB apartment with friends. The day I switched over to a hostel just happened to be a warm, calm, sunny day. Knowing I couldn’t count on that to happen again, I dropped my stuff off and quickly made my way up to the Mount Victoria lookout, even though I was dead tired.
Mount Victoria Lookout, Wellington
Walking to Mount Victoria Lookout
I love to hike when I travel. Even if it’s just a short one, it always feels good to get in a little bit of exercise and breathe in some fresh air. I especially love when I can find a good place to hike in the city. When you combine all of the above with incredible views as a reward, I’m in.
Mount Victoria is part of the Wellington Townbelt that surrounds the city—parks and outdoor spaces up on the hills. There are plenty of spots around the city where you can get a great view, but the Mount Victoria lookout is definitely the best. At the top of the hill, 643 feet up, is a lookout spot where you’ll get a 360 degree view of Wellington.
The Mount Victoria walkway takes you through a tranquil, wooded setting. It’s surprising how quiet and removed the trail feels considering it’s right in the city. The walk was pretty tiring (a lot of incline) but totally doable for the average person.
View from Mount Victoria – Best Views of Wellington!
The walk is really nice just for the sake of walking and getting some exercise, but the real reason people do this is for the views. And oh man, the views from the top are incredible!
Once you find the parking lot (whether you walk or drive), a set of stairs takes you up to the official lookout point. From there you get a full view of the city from above. You can see the harbor, you can see the airport, you can see everything.
Here’s a little tip for you, though: in addition to the lookout point, walk down the road towards the radio tower. There’s another outdoor space there with a memorial and platform, with plenty of space to sit and hang out. I found that this spot was much less crowded (about 10 people compared to close to 50 at the official lookout point). In my opinion, the views are also a little better from there.
How to Get to the Mount Victoria Lookout
There is a road up to the lookout point, so driving up is an easy option. A lot of tours will take you up there as well. However, hiking up to the lookout point is really the best way to do it. There are multiple starting points if you want to walk, which you can find on this map.
I began by walking along Majoribanks Street (next to the Embassy Theatre, just off of Kent Terrace). After that I followed Hawker Street, past St. Gerard’s Catholic Church, and up Palliser Road. From there I connected to the Southern Walkway, and then made my way up to the lookout point.
There are definitely easier ways to get to the walkway, but…I kind of didn’t know where I was going, and I followed the sign directing drivers rather than signs to the walkway. Oops! The path I took was a nice workout, however, and I did get to stop and see the church on my way up. On the way down, I continued following the Southern walkway on the other side of Palliser all the way down to Oriental Parade.
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