The 10 Best Places in Wellington to Watch the Sunrise

The 10 Best Places in Wellington to Watch the Sunrise

Setting your alarm clock and getting out of your bed early in the morning can be quite a challenge. However, the sunrise in some spots in Wellington are definitely worth the trouble! 

Want to learn more? Check out some of our favorite places in the city to admire and record the sunrise! 

1. Mount Victoria Lookout

Mount Victoria Wellington
ADDRESSLookout Road, Hataitai, Wellington
CONTACT DETAILS+64 4 802 4860 (Wellington Visitor Information Centre)

Found just minutes away from the city center, Mount Victoria is one of our favorite places to see the sunrise. The reason is that you get 360-degree views of the city. 

So imagine being at a 196-meter-high vantage point and seeing the whole city and watching it slowly blanketed by sunlight. It’s amazing to see. 

You’ll also see the harbor clearly from here. Check out this cool snap of the sunrise here if you want to know what we mean: 

You can either choose to walk, hike, or drive to the top. Hiking can be a great way to get some fresh air and exercise.

It’s a good alternative to your usual gym session  or yoga class

One thing we love doing here is setting up a picnic. You can have your breakfast here and enjoy the view with a steaming cup of coffee. 

2. Castlepoint Lighthouse

Castlepoint Lighthouse

Castlepoint Lighthouse is another of our favorite spots to watch the sunrise in the city. Its Instagram-worthy view is something you shouldn’t miss! 

The lighthouse can be found on top of a cliff and is 23 meters high – making it the highest lighthouse on the North Island.

The vantage point of the lighthouse offers a scenic view of the sea as you enjoy the light breeze. What’s great is that it’s only two and a half-hour drive away from the center of Wellington city. 

After watching the sunrise, you can swim, fish, or surf in the area. It will be a fun place to bring the whole family. 

3. Te Whiti Riser

Te Whiti Riser
Image from Hutt Valley NZ

Te Whiti is one of the newest and most accessible walks in the region. It’s become a popular spot for locals to get some steps in. 

The trail is a gentle gradient from Te Whiti Park in Waiwhetu to the ECNZ road at the summit of Hayward Eastern Hills. There are benches on the top of the trail where you can rest after an hour of walking.

The Te Whiti Riser ridge line offers a great view of the surroundings; it’s one of the best places to observe the sunrise. 

If you ever forget to bring basic supplies, you can buy them from Lower Hutt, Wainuiomata, or Petone before starting the track. The trail starts at Te Whiti Park, Riverside Drive, Waiwhetu, which you can access behind the gymnasium, and ends on the ECNZ firebreak.

Be aware of bikes traveling downwards, especially around blind corners, since it is popular among cyclists. 

For fur parents out there, dogs must always be on a leash on this trail.

4. Te Ahumairangi Hill Lookout

ADDRESSNorthland, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
CONTACT DETAILS+64 4 499 4444 (Wellington City Council)

The Te Ahumairangi Hill Lookout is one of the best places to get a picturesque view of the Wellington Harbour to Pencarrow. This is very popular with walkers and bikers because of the gorgeous view. 

The lookout is located in the greenery of the Town Belt above Thorndon. You can walk to the lookout, or you can drive to the carpark on the ridgeline and watch the sunrise from there. 

If you opt to walk here, it will take 45 minutes from the city’s center. You may access the lookout off Orangi Kaupapa Road in Northland and other entrances from Huntingdon Street, Weld Street, Wadestown Road, Grant Road, and Saint Mary Street. 

There are well-formed tracks along the way that can be accessed by mountain buggies which can be reached through Weld Street or Orangi Kaupapa Road carparks.

5. Massey Memorial

Massey Memorial
Image from Wikipedia
ADDRESSMaupuia, Wellington 6022, New Zealand
CONTACT DETAILS+64 4 499 4229 (Ministry of Culture and Heritage)

The memorial commemorates former New Zealand Prime Minister, William Masey; commonly known as Bill Massey. He was the 19th prime minister of New Zealand from May 1912 to May 1925. 

The Massey Memorial offers a panoramic view of the Wellington Harbour. This spot is secluded and peaceful as well. 

To access the memorial, you can drive to Shelby Bay Road and walk to the hill. 

Since it is a burial ground, please be respectful of the place. Alcohol is not allowed on site. 

6. Eastern Walkway

ADDRESS72 Sidlaw Street, Strathmore Park, Wellington 6022, New Zealand

The Eastern Walkway overlooks the Wellington Harbor and offers picturesque views. This spot is only a 15-minute drive away from the city’s center, so it’s accessible. 

The walkway takes you to the famous Ataturk Memorial and the memorial to the 1968 Wahine maritime disaster. Native bush surrounds you along the ridgeline, offering sweeping coastal views.

The walkway length is about 2.6 kilometers and would take around an hour and a half to complete. The walkway starts at Tarakena Bay and ends at Pass of Branda, or you can also take the other way around.

If you are parked at Tarakena Bay, you can loop back to your vehicle after completing the walkway if you go south from Pass of Brenda along Breaker Bay Road and back to Tarakena Bay. 

Public toilets are also available at Lyall Bay, and you can relax at some nice cafes there after your walk. Nothing beats good coffee after watching the sunrise. 

7. Mount Kaukau

The top of Mount Kaukau is the most visible apex in Wellington. So expect a scenic view of the whole city and harbor, Hutt Valley, Remutaka and Tararua Ranges up north, and even the South Island. 

The walk towards the summit is quite challenging and would take an hour of hiking. So, probably not the best trail for total beginners, we think. 

The track has benches where you can rest. There’s also plenty of parking at Truscott Avenue and Woodmancote Road. 

As a tip, we advise against parking in Simla Crescent and Sirsi Terrace as it can be difficult to find spots there.

8. Paekakariki Hill Road Lookout

Paekakariki Hill Road Lookout
Image from Wikipedia

History buffs would like to know that Paekakariki Hill Road was specifically built to calm the Wellington region after the Hutt Valley War of 1845 -1846. 

The British army engineers and Maori road builders completed the road in 1849, which links Wellington and Porirua with the beach road to Whanganui.

The road is also known to be one of the most beautiful yet dangerous roads in the region. The Paekakariki Hill Road offers a great coastal view as you drive up the winding road. 

The lookout rewards you with a great ocean view and a jaw-dropping view of the sunrise, especially during summer.

9. Wellington Cable Car Lookout

Wellington Cable Car Lookout
Image from Pure New Zealand
ADDRESS280 Lambton Quay, Wellington Central, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
CONTACT DETAILS+64 4 472 2199
OPERATING HOURS07:30 AM to 08:00 PM (Monday - Thursday)

07:30 AM to 09:00 PM (Friday)

08:30 AM to 09:00 PM (Saturday)

08:30 AM to 07:00 PM (Sunday and Public Holiday)

PRICEOne way trip:

Adult: $6.00 (16 years old and above)

Child: $3.00 (5 years old to 15 years old)

Return trip:

Adult: $11.00 (16 years old and above)

Child: $5.50 (5 years old to 15 years old)

Family Pass (1 Adult + 2 Children): $19.00

Family Pass (1 Adult + 3 Children): $19.00

Family Pass (2 Adults + 2 Children): $26.00

Family Pass (2 Adults + 3 Children): $26.00

Family Pass (2 Adults + 4 Children): $26.00

Ride one of the most famous tourist attractions in Wellington, the Wellington Cable Car and reach the top of the Cable Car Lookout to get a scenic view over the city and harbor. The ride lasts 5 minutes, and each cable car departs every 10 minutes from Lambton Quay.

The lookout offers an astounding view of the sunrise above the city. After the sunrise viewing, you can also visit the Wellington Botanic Garden, Cable Car Museum, and Space Place. 

10. Pukerua Bay Beach

ADDRESSPukerua Beach Road, Pukerua Bay, Porirua 5026, New Zealand

Pukerua Bay is one of New Zealand’s hidden gems which is only 20 minutes away from Wellington City. It has a great combination of rugged landscapes and a beautiful sandy beach. 

The beach has strong currents, so we only recommend swimming or surfing here if you have lots of experience. 

Although this spot is famous for viewing the sunset, the sunrise is equally spectacular. After viewing the sunrise, there is a small collection of cool shops in the area, such as a second-hand book shop.

You can even buy a book there and read it in front of the beach! The spot is best if you want a laid-back atmosphere to take in the ocean breeze and the beautiful hues of dawn.

So there you have it, a list of the best spots in Wellington to see the sunrise! We hope we were able to help you decide on your next early-morning adventure. 

Did we miss out on any local spots? Let us know! 

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