Te Araroa News

Paekakariki Escarpment Track now open - 10 April 2016


Wellington now has its own ‘devil’s staircase’ with Te Araroa’s newest track packing a punishing 1500 steps and thought to be one of the toughest ascents in the region. The Paekakariki Escarpment Track opened on Saturday 9 April.

“Walkers need to beat a series of long steep staircases but the stunning views of the Tasman and South Island from the summit make it more like a stairway to heaven,” says Rob Wakelin, CEO of Te Araroa – New Zealand’s Trail.

Te Araroa’s new $1.4 million custom-built track runs 10 kilometres alongside State Highway 1 between Paekakariki and Pukerua Bay, and rises high above the North Island Main Trunk Line.

Rob says the four-hour walk offers a truly magnificent New Zealand track experience, including two 40 metre swing bridges, a kohekohe forest, abundant native birdlife and Maori archaeological sites – and all just a train ride away or 20 minute drive from the Wellington CBD.

However, Rob says it's the breath-taking views that he believes will quickly make this track a popular Wellington region icon.

“I’m confident the Paekakariki Escarpment track will quickly become a ‘must do’ in the Wellington region, offering something unique and unforgettable to locals and tourists alike.

“It’s no doddle with a summit at 220 metres above sea level. But it’s a great place to stop, take some deep breaths and enjoy the wonder of the track’s views, including Kapiti Island and the South Island plus expansive views of the sea in its various moods.”

Previously Te Araroa walkers were forced to walk along the Centennial Highway between Paekakariki and Pukerua Bay. The track build started in 2011 after many years of planning and fundraising, with $800,000 provided by the New Zealand Government. Over that time, Te Araroa’s Wellington Trustees have championed and overseen the track build, working closely with funders (listed below) and local councils and communities, including Nga Uruora, a voluntary group who have been replanting along the track to attract native birds.

Rob says Te Araroa – New Zealand’s Trail is experiencing record numbers walking the national track this year, as well as the countless others doing shorter walks and ‘day trips’ such as the new Paekakariki Escarpment track.

“Te Araroa’s popularity stimulates enterprise along the route including accommodation, transport and other services for walkers. We’ve had marvellous support from the local Paekakariki and Pukerua Bay communities and feel confident they will experience the benefits of this new track also,” says Rob.