Mt. Victoria is an iconic landmark affectionately known as ‘Mt Vic’ to Kiwis. You can do all sorts of activities here—whether you’re an adventure-seeker or a fan of serenity.
If you’re hoping to see the Mt Vic magic for yourself, you’re in luck, as we’ve spent weeks exploring the top things to do in Mt. Victoria. Our list below will ensure you make the most of your visit to this picturesque haven.
1. Do the summit walk
The summit walk is undoubtedly one of the most popular activities on Mt. Victoria. The trail begins at Charles Plimmer Park and meanders through lush native bush, eventually leading you to the summit.
This 196-meter-high vantage point offers breathtaking 360-degree views of Wellington City, the harbour, and the surrounding hills. As you walk up to the summit, you’ll pass remnants of the city’s past, including old gun emplacements from World War II.
The trail is well-marked and suitable for all fitness levels, making it a perfect activity for families, solo adventurers, or romantic couples.
About halfway up the trail, there’s a hidden detour known as ‘The Secret Swing’. This detour takes you to a secluded spot in the forest where you’ll find a swing tied to a tree. Take a moment to rest here and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. And of course, have a go on the swing!
2. Go to the lookout points
A visit to Mt. Victoria is incomplete without exploring its famed lookout points. These vantage spots offer breathtaking views and narrate the tale of Wellington’s evolution from a tranquil harbour to a bustling metropolis.
The Mount York Lookout, considered one of the top attractions in Mount Victoria, offers a stunning perspective of the region’s undulating terrain and expansive skyline. Here, you can trace the contours of the harbour, the cityscape, and the distant hills.
Sunset Rock and Mitchell Ridge are perfect alternatives for those seeking lesser-known lookouts. These spots provide an unobstructed view of the sun dipping below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the city.
3. Visit Oriental Bay Beach
A day at Oriental Bay Beach is perfect for a day of relaxation, with its golden sand and calm waters. You can take a leisurely stroll along the beach, soak up the sun, or even enjoy a picnic.
The beach is also surrounded by numerous cafés and restaurants where you can sample local cuisine.
Plan your visit to Oriental Bay Beach during the early morning hours. Not only will you avoid the usual crowd, but you’ll also get to witness a breathtaking sunrise over the water. The sight of the sun slowly rising, casting a warm glow over the tranquil bay, is truly unforgettable.
4. Go biking
Mt Victoria’s extensive network of trails offers a unique biking experience for all skill levels. As you pedal your way up the mountain, you’ll be treated to magnificent views of Wellington city and the harbour.
The challenging trails will put your biking skills to the test as you navigate native bush and over hilly terrains. And when you reach the top, the 360-degree panoramic views will take your breath away.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try biking down the Zigzag Track. The Zigzag Track is a steep, winding downhill trail that is not for the faint of heart. However, it offers an exhilarating ride with stunning views of the city.
5. See the Lord of the Rings attractions at Mt Victoria
As you explore Mt. Victoria, you’ll find yourself tracing the footsteps of Frodo and his companions. The forested areas of the mountain, with their lush foliage and tranquil ambience, served as the backdrop for several scenes in ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’.
One such location is the ‘Hobbit’s Hideaway’, where the hobbits hid from the Black Riders. As you wander through this enchanting woodland, you can almost hear the rustle of leaves as the hobbits scurry to safety.
Venture deeper into Mt. Victoria, and you’ll come across the sites of the Outer Shire. This is where Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin first set out on their epic journey.
As you wind your way through the beautiful forested trails, you can imagine the four hobbits embarking on their adventure, unaware of the perils and triumphs that lie ahead.
For a comprehensive LotR experience, consider joining the Wellington Lord of the Rings City Tour. This guided tour takes you to Mt. Victoria and other LotR filming locations around Wellington, providing fascinating insights into the making of the trilogy.
6. Check out the Weta Cave
The Wētā Cave boasts an impressive collection of high-end sculptures and artifacts from the world of film. Each piece, meticulously crafted by the skilled artisans of Wētā Workshop, offers a fascinating glimpse into the creative process behind some of the most iconic movies of our time.
At the heart of the Wētā Cave is the Wētā Workshop Experience. This immersive tour takes you behind the scenes of the award-winning Wētā Workshop, home to the creative minds who brought life to films such as ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Avatar’.
As you explore the workshop, you’ll discover the magic that goes into creating stunning visual effects, prosthetics, miniatures, and more. Whether you’re a film enthusiast or a curious traveller, this tour is sure to leave you spellbound.
In the back of the shop, behind a nondescript door, you’ll find a small courtyard. This courtyard houses a life-sized statue of Gollum, one of the most iconic characters from ‘The Lord of the Rings’.
It’s a secret photo op that will add an extra touch of movie magic to your Wētā Cave adventure.
7. Take a scenic drive around Mt Victoria
Your journey begins at Oriental Bay, a stunning beachfront that leads up to Oriental Terrace. From here, follow the small paved path that zigzags through the houses and into the hills.
Upon reaching the summit, take a moment to soak in the 360-degree panorama of Wellington City, the harbour, and the vast ocean to the south. It’s a sight that’s sure to leave you awe-inspired.
From the summit, continue your journey by driving towards Roseneath, one of the posh suburbs of Wellington. This route offers a unique blend of urban charm and natural beauty, with its elegant houses, lush greenery, and stunning sea views.
Halfway down Alexandra Road, there’s a small parking area on the left. Park here and take the short walk up to a secluded lookout point. This spot, with its unobstructed views of the western sky, is the perfect place to watch the sunset over Wellington.