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Accessible places to visit

Accessible places to visit

Updated 12 April 2018 1:27pm

Greater Wellington has been upgrading tracks and other facilities in the parks since the late 1990s, to make the parks accessible to a wider range of people. As a result, there are now several areas that may be negotiated by people with limited mobility or in wheelchairs. Other tracks are suitable for disabled people with assistance. Toilets in the parks are now almost all wheelchair accessible

Easy places to visit

Battle Hill Farm Forest Park

Site of one of the last battles between Maori and colonial forces in the region, Battle Hill blends traditional hill country farming, forestry and environmental restoration. With its mix of flat and steeper country it is popular for walking, biking, horse riding, camping and picnicking.

The Ken Gray Education Centre is reached via a wheelchair accessible ramp over the sheep yards. There are wheelchair accessible toilets by the car park and at the campground.

Suggested activities
Easy – picnic in the homestead gardens or by the stream; walk around the front paddocks and over to the historic graveyard (note there are cattle stops en route).

With assistance – try the Bush Reserve Short Loop. Walk up the farm road towards Swampy Gully to see wetland plants, birds and typical NZ farm animals.

With groups – contact the park ranger to arrange a free group visit, meeting the farm animals and learning more about the park history.

Hutt River Trail

Running from Petone’s Hikoikoi Reserve to Te Marua north of Upper Hutt, the Hutt River Trail is a reminder of the early Maori foot tracks alongside Te Awa Kairangi (the Hutt River).

Most of the Hutt River Trail surface is gravel. However, the section from Kennedy Good Bridge to the Estuary Bridge has been sealed on the true left (city centre side) bank. The sealed path runs under Melling Bridge, giving easy access to the carpark. There are several steeper grade ramps from the Riverbank car park to the Trail on top of the stopbank near Lower Hutt City centre. Watch for cyclists.

The Ava, Melling, Pomare, Manor Park and Silverstream Railway Stations are handy to the Hutt River Trail, together with various bus services.

Suggested activities
Easy –  From the Riverbank carpark near Hutt City centre follow the sealed path either north to Kennedy Good bridge or south to Seaview. Return the same way. Or from from the Randwick Crescent carpark, follow the Trail south to Estuary Bridge at Waione Street and return the same way.

With assistance - Park at the County Lane (Silverstream) entrance and walk north about 500m on a gravel path to picnic at one of the several tables in the area.

With groups – contact the river ranger to arrange a presentation about the Hutt Riiver Trail and recreational opportunities near the Hutt River.

Kaitoke Regional Park

Only 45 minutes north of Wellington City, Kaitoke Regional Park features centuries old rata, rimu and beech forest. The park was the scene of “Rivendell” in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Nearly half of Wellington’s water is drawn from the Hutt River within the park. As a result, there are several sealed vehicle-free tracks. All toilets are wheelchair accessible.

Suggested activities
Easy – picnic in Rivendell, a short distance from the carpark. Follow the sealed access road to the weir, the collection point for Wellington’s water.

With assistance – take the track through to the Rivendell film site (fine gravel surface). Follow the path through to the Strainer House and Flume Bridge. Detour en route via the Terrace Walk through rata/ rimu forest.

With groups – contact the park ranger for a talk about Kaitoke’s temperate rainforest and birdlife. Book the BBQ shelter (for a small fee) for a group picnic.

Queen Elizabeth Park

The last area of relatively natural dunes on the Kapiti coastline, Queen Elizabeth’s Park sandy beaches, warm climate and easy terrain make it our most popular regional park. Offering plenty of space for walking, picnics, swimming, fishing, cycling and group events, the park is the site of two historic pa and once housed up to 20,000 US Marines during World War II.

Suggested activities
Easy – take the short Pukeko Path in the MacKays Crossing wetlands near the ranger’s office and follow with a picnic. Visit the Tram Museum (11.30am – 4.30pm weekends and public holidays) and the US Marines display further along Whareroa Road. Picnic at the Paekakariki entrance area
or Whareroa Beach.

With assistance – follow the sealed roadways from the Paekakariki entrance to Wainui Beach, and at Whareroa amongst the dunes. The beach is accessible via a sandy track at the northern end of the Whareroa Beach car park. Cross the paddock near the Marines display to visit the nearby wetlands, first planted in 2003.

With groups
– book a picnic site at Whareroa Beach or at Paekakariki (for a small fee). Space is available there for organised activities.

Tunnel Gully Recreation Area

Named for its link with the historic Remutaka railway line between Wellington and the Wairarapa, Tunnel Gully features the 221m long Mangaroa Tunnel, built between 1875 and 1877. The tunnel’s working life ended in 1955 when the new Remutaka Tunnel was opened. Toilets at the lower car park are wheelchair accessible. Open grassy areas are ideal for picnics. Young children enjoy paddling in the small swimming hole near the lower picnic area.

Suggested activities
Easy – picnic areas are adjacent to the lower and upper car parks.

With assistance – from the lower car park, follow the left branch of Tane’s Track through mature podocarp/ tawa forest. Turn right onto the access road and after some 100m back onto the track. You can visit the Mangaroa Tunnel en route or via the upper picnic area.