The Paekakariki Escarpment track has been recently opened to the public last April 9, 2016. Though I wasn’t able to go to opening, I was thrilled that I’d finally get to try this hiking track in Wellington this weekend–thanks to the invite of Kuya Mike and my sister, and thanks to the wonderful weekend weather that’s beckoning us to just go. (I’m glad I didn’t push through during the opening, I’m not too keen to go with the crowd).
Paekākāriki Escarpment Track
We started off at around 9:30am and parked at Fisherman’s Table. We entered the track by going down the steps immediately north of the rail overpass. From there, we headed south from Paekākāriki towards Pukerua Bay. Soon enough, we were rising up the hills and getting stunning views of the Tasman Sea / Kapiti Coast on our right.
The “stairway to heaven” has gruelling 492 steps up, and the trail is 10 kms long, alongside State Highway 1 between Paekākāriki and Pukerua Bay, above the North Island railway line. Despite the tough challenge, the views of Kapiti Coast (and the feeling of having a good workout) is rewarding!
- It’s an easier walking experience if you start from Paekākāriki heading to Pukerua Bay.
- If you’re doing it with a group and don’t want to hike back the same way, one could park their car in the Paekākāriki train station and the other near the Pukerua Bay station. Then you can just take the car and head back to where you started.
- Or you can just take the train (like what we did). It’s just $3.50 per person, one way.
- Lose the fear of heights. I’ve read this: the walk is unsuitable for people with vertigo and children younger than 8 years old.
- There are no toilets on the track.
- There are cafes in Paekākāriki, you can fuel up before or after your walk.
- Always check the weather conditions on the day you will go, it is exposed up there!
The Paekakariki Escarpment track is part of Te Araroa – New Zealand’s Trail, a 3000km route stretching from Cape Reinga to Bluff, which opened 2011.