Explore the Eastern cost and hills of the peninsula - Native bush, stunning views, houses dotting the hillsides

Miramar, Nature's bounty

About this Trail

The trail runs from south to north but can also be done in the opposite direction. You can join at a number of entry points instead of doing the whole trail.

This trail is not a loop so if you are part of a group and keen to do the complete length, Rover Tours might be able to help. E: [email protected] / T: 0800 426 211.

Walking time

Three to four hours.




Undulating tracks and stairways with some steep sections and uneven surfaces, as well as flat sealed coastal footpaths. Moderate fitness required.

How to get there

Start at the Tarakena Bay carpark or connect at one of the entry points: Pass of Branda, Seatoun (parking on Mantell or Inglis Sts), Boardwalk at sea end of Ludlam St, Seatoun or Worser Bay

Download the trail brochure here.


Tarakena Bay & Atatürk Memorial

Begin your journey at the Tarakena Bay carpark and follow the track to the Atatürk Memorial.

South Island | Te Wai Pounamu

As you climb up to the Memorial, take some time to look back to the south east: if the skies are clear, you will see the mountains of Kaikōura, in the South Island. These often appear snow-covered down to sea level in winter. To the south is Cook Strait | Raukawa Moana, dividing the North and South Islands, and one of the wildest stretches of water in the world.

Native birds

From the Memorial, continue north on the marked track and enter the bush, where it’s hard to believe you are in the capital city of New Zealand! You’ll get panoramic views over the harbour entrance and be surrounded by bird song. Try to spot large Kererū (native woodpigeon) or small darting Piwakawaka (New Zealand fantail). Thanks to Predator Free Miramar and Te Motu Kairangi Miramar Ecolological Restoration, native species are once again thriving on the Peninsula. You might even see a cheeky Tui chasing an insect!

Pencarrow Head and the Wahine shipwreck

Looking across the mouth of Wellington Harbour to the east is Pencarrow Head| Te Raeakiaki and its two lighthouses. This was home to Mary Jane Bennett, New Zealand’s first and only woman lighthouse keeper – and her five children – from 1852 to 1865. Visiting this wild, pristine area is possible from the Eastbourne Regional Park, but it will be for another day

An orange beacon marks the cluster of rocks in the harbour channel called Barrett Reef | Tangihanga-a-Kupe, where the interisland ferry Wahine struck during a huge storm on 10 April 1968. Fifty one people lost their lives, the worst marine tragedy in New Zealand’s history. The Wahine finally sunk near Steeple Rock |Te Aroaro-o-Kupe in Seatoun where attempts were made to salvage it, but later storms broke up the wreck where it lay.

Following the trail through bush then forest will lead you to the Pass of Branda.


Oruaiti Reserve and Worser Bay

Oruaiti Reserve and Breaker Bay

On reaching the Pass of Branda, cross the road and climb the stairway to reach the ridge and the ‘Benoit Trail’. On your left, Seatoun extends to the complex and moody foreshore called Kirikiri-tatangi, which is sometimes lazy, sometimes furious, as in a northerly storm. Below to your right is Breaker Bay, a picturesque sandy cove that’s also part of the Oruaiti Reserve. Halfway along, you’ll see its iconic needle eye rock formation.

Fort Dorset

Fort Dorset Heritage Area marks the collection of WWI and WWII defence-related structures on the coastal escarpment at Point Dorset. It was on this well-positioned natural feature that Māori built Oruaiti Pā in the 17th century.

Wander through the pines and reach a waka sculpture and carved post | pouwhenua, marking the site of the former Oruaiti Pā and village. Other pa dotted the northern ridge of the Peninsula and their fires would have been visible in the night sky from here. Make a quick detour south to the clifftop, offering spectacular views of Breaker Bay and the Wellington Heads: you may see ferries passing by to or from the South Island.

Seatoun Beach | Kirikiri-tatangi

The Trail follows the ridge then descends to Seatoun Beach, a great spot for kite surfing, swimming and kayaking. Steeple Rock, named Te Aroaro-o-Kupe after legenday Māori explorer Kupe who accidentally cut himself here, attracts snorkelers and paua divers. Continue along the coastal path to Marine Parade while taking in the wide and beautiful views of the Peninsula (west) and the Orongorongo Mountains (east). In summer, Seatoun Wharf makes a great jumping platform for locals and visitors.

Continue along Marine Parade. You will find Kakariki Road, a foot track zigzaging up the hill between numbers 155 and 159 – a great quick detour for incredible views! Descend back to Marine Parade and continue to Worser Bay Boating Club.


Scorching Bay

Worser Bay

This beach is too beautiful to be missed. On a good day, you might even want to have a swim, or just keep going to Worser Bay Boating Club (est.1926). Continue north along Karaka Bay Road.

Karaka Bay

After passing the twin boatsheds and rounding Taipakupaku Point, a pedestrian way climbs steeply on your left. Wellington has a myriad of these delightful hill paths linking streets and houses to main roads. Climb to Tai Paku Paku Road, past houses emerging from the bush.

Scorching Bay

Turn right onto Napier Street, then right again into Pretoria Road. A gentle slope takes you down to Scorching Bay, one of the most iconic beaches in Wellington. Here, treat yourself to a latte or an ice cream from the local café.

An old fortication camp, lost in the forest.

Massey Memorial

WARNING: This section is more rugged than the previous ones and boggy in places. Good footwear is recommended.

From Scorching Bay, continue walking around the bays, heading North. At Mahanga Bay, walk up Fort Ballance Road to the former coastal artillery battery on Point Gordon. The military structures were built in 1885, following fears of impending war with Russia. From here, views over Scorching Bay all the way to Point Dorset, are spectacular.

Mount Crawford

Next, follow the trail away from the defence site. Go through the gate and leave it closed as you found it. With the weather station on your left, follow along on the right side of the mesh fence. Be careful as the narrow track falls away sharply on the right hand edge in places.

You’ll feel as if you’ve left the city altogether, as you are surrounded by forest. Higher up on your left is the peak of Mount Crawford, site of a former prison and now the community gardens. You may even see some cows grazing, here in the heart of the capital! Please don’t disturb them, and leave gates as you find them.

Massey Memorial

When you come to open pastures and the fences converge, cross the pasture on your right, down to another historic military site. Keep going down, past the site, to the fence-line then cross over using the wooden stile. You will come to a trail a few 100 meters away from the Massey Memorial. Located at Point Halswell, this mausoleum commemorates William Ferguson Massey, Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1912 until his death in 1925. The exterior is pale Takaka marble resting on a base of dark grey Coromandel granite. It was unveiled in September 1930.

You have now reached the northern tip of the Peninsula and almost completed your journey.

By Alana's - originally posted to Flickr as Massey memorial, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7094310

Where the trail ends, an iconic, creative cove.

Shelly Bay

Opposite the track that took you to the memorial, two trails wind around to the other side of the Peninsula. Take the track that follows the contour of the hill (rather than the descending track), allowing you to stay in the bush longer. The trail slopes gently down for 10-15 minutes and takes you to Shelly Bay. This former defence site is now home to craft studios, a gallery and the iconic Chocolate Fish Café.

Shelly Bay

Shelly Bay has a long military history that began with the construction of the Submarine Mining Depot Barracks in 1887. The area was a Royal Navy base from 1907 to 1946, then was transferred to the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The air force base closed in 1995. In 2009 the land was handed over to Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika as part of a Treaty of Waitangi settlement.

Your journey along the Miramar Trail is now complete. We trust you have enjoyed this iconic part of Wellington.