The Mount Victoria Lookout is easily accessible from Wellington’s city center and offers 360-degree scenic views. Learn how to get there and what to expect.
The Mount Victoria walk takes you up Mount Victoria at 196 m for 360-degree scenic views of Wellington in New Zealand.
There are several routes you can take up Mount Victoria. Most of them will lead you through bush or a pine forest before reaching the peak.
Shortest route up Mount Victoria
The shortest and most direct route up Mount Victoria in Wellington is to:
- At the (eastern) end of Courtney Place, cross Cambrigde Terrace and Kent Terrace.
- Go straight into Majoribanks Street.
- At the end of the Majoribanks Street, you should see a sign for the Southern Walkway.
- Follow the walking track called Summit Walkway that goes up through the forest to the Mount Victoria Lookout.
While taking the trail through the forest is the quickest way up Mount Victoria, it does not offer (m)any scenic views – unless you are into trees, of course – until you reach the summit.
And note that if you are traveling alone as a female, it would be safer to walk along roads than it would be to walk in a dark – and sometimes scary – forest.
Also note that the forest can get muddy and slippery after periods of heavy rain, and that it takes days to dry out.
Longer but more scenic route up Mount Victoria
Because the network of trails in the bush and forest can be very confusing, resulting in the feeling of being lost, the walk I am going to describe here is an unofficial Mount Victoria Wellington walk that takes you along Wellington’s waterfront and Oriental Parade, and then via roads up to Mount Victoria’s summit.
This walk offers views along the way, and views east and west of Mount Victoria, until you reach the summit where you can get a 360-degree view of Wellington city.
How to get to the Mount Victoria Lookout
To get to Mount Victoria lookout in Wellington, you could:
- Drive up Mount Victoria if you have a car.
- Catch the bus. The bus stops on the summit of Mount Victoria, but you still have to walk a minute or two to get to the viewing platform on the summit of Mount Victoria. It will cost you around $4.00 (from Courtenay Place – Stop C) with bus 20; check out metlink.org.nz for more info.
- Walk from Wellington’s CBD (Central Business District) to one of the entry points of the Southern Walkway and then walk up Mount Victoria.
The third option was taken for the walk described in this article with the entry point being located on Oriental Parade (the northern end of the Southern Walkway.
Walking to the Mount Victoria Lookout in Wellington
To get to Oriental Parade from Wellington’s CBD, walk towards the harbor, and then follow Wellington’s waterfront past the marina, Freyberg Beach Play Area, and the Carter Memorial Fountain.
Continue following the waterfront, which also skirts Oriental Parade around the corner until you see an opening and a sign for the Southern Walkway on the right-hand side of the road.
It is a 2.5 km (1.6 mi) walk depending on where you start from in the CBD, and it should take you between 25 and 30 minutes to get there.
There is a pedestrian crossing just before you reach the entry to the walkway. If you see a sign for Evans Bay Parade, you have gone too far.
Go right at the sign for the Southern Walkway, and start walking up the trail. It is paved, so your shoes will not get muddy if it has rained in the days prior [Photo: Start of the Southern Walkway on Oriental Parade in Wellington (56 KB)].
At the second switchback, you should see some steps going off the trail to the left. You can walk up those steps to get a view from a lookout that looks down on the road and the harbor [Photo: Wellington city lookout on the Southern Walkway (59 KB)].
Get back onto the trail and continue walking up. You should go through three more switchbacks before you reach a junction where you can go right and continue on the Southern Walkway or left to a playground and further up the road. Go to the left at the junction.
Stop at the playground to enjoy unobstructed views of the city and harbor [Photo: Fountain in Wellington Harbour with the city in the background (61 KB)], and then continue walking up the trail. Go right at the next junction and continue walking up until you reach the road.
Once you are at the road (The Crescent), go right past a bus stop [Photo: Bus stop on The Crescent in Wellington (28 KB)] and start walking up the road.
You should be able to get views of Wellington City here and there in between and above the roofs of houses as you are walking up the road [Photo: Wellington City views in between houses on The Crescent (36 KB)]. Continue walking up The Cresent until you reach the intersection with Grafton Road.
A little past the intersection, you should see a couple of stairs with around 70 steps on your right. Walk up those stairs to join Palliser Road.
Once you are on Palliser Road, go right, and continue walking up until you reach the next intersection. At the intersection, go left on Roseneath Terrace, and then at the next intersection, go right on Thane Road.
Continue following Thane Road past Robieson Street, until you see the intersection with Lookout Road.
Go right on Lookout Road. In front of you, you should see a couple of stairs that lead up to the Centennial Memorial Lookout [Photo: Steps leading up to the Centennial Memorial Lookout on Mount Victoria (60 KB)]. Walk up those steps.
Once you are at the top, you should see the memorial on your right. Stop for a while there to enjoy the scenery [Photos: Wakefield monument at the Centennial Memorial Lookout on Mount Victoria (47 KB); Wellington Airport as seen from the Centennial Memorial Lookout on Mount Victoria (42 KB)].
When you leave the memorial, go left and join Lookout Road again, and continue walking along the road until you see the Mount Victoria Lookout. After you leave the memorial, you should get some views again before you lose them and have to wait until you reach the lookout where you should see a bus stop [Photo: Wellington bus on Mount Victoria (43 KB)].
Walk up the steps to reach the viewing platform and get views of Wellington [Photos: Steps leading up to the lookout on Mount Victoria (50 KB); Close-up view of Wellington city from the Mount Victoria lookout (54 KB)]. When you are done, retrace your steps and go back the same way you came.
[Photo: Mount Victoria Lookout in Wellington (43 KB)]
Words of caution:
Because the summit of Mount Victoria is quite exposed to the elements, this walk is best done on a sunny day with little to no wind. Such days are rare in Wellington, but they do exist. Do you see reflections in the harbor in the photo above? That’s a sign of little to no wind.
Just check metservice.com before you head out. Any wind speed of 10 km/h or less is perfect to visit Mount Victoria. Anything above 30 km/h is too windy.
As you can see from the photographs shown above and in the video shown below, there wasn’t a single person at the lookout when I visited it.
However, this is not always the case. Expect it to be busy or very busy if/when you visit, because it is a very popular Wellington tourist attraction.
Basic info for the Mount Victoria Wellington walk
|Trail length:||2 km (1.2 mi) to the Mount Victoria lookout starting from the Northern end of the Southern Walkway.|
|Walking time:||From Wellington’s CBD it is 30 minutes to the start of the Southern Walkway on Oriental Parade, and then another 25 – 35 minutes to the summit of Mount Victoria. On the way back you’ll probably take half as much time on your way down, so 15 minutes, and then 30 minutes back to the start of the walk. So allow for 2 hours in total for the walk.|
|Difficulty:||Medium to hard|
|Trail type:||Sidewalk, signposted walkway, and public roads.|
|Trail condition:||Good. The first part of the walk is steep but not too steep. Once you are walking alongside roads, the walk will be mostly a gentle climb with a mixture of sidewalk and steps to climb. It does not get muddy, except for when walking on wet grass on certain parts of the sidewalk when getting closer to the summit of Mount Victoria.|
|Fitness level:||Moderate to high. This walk is very demanding on the thigh and glute muscles, and you need good cardiovascular fitness to make it up the hill and all of the stairs.|
|Best time to walk:||Morning for city or airport views. Afternoon for views of the northeastern hills and mountains.|
|What you’ll see:||Scenic views of Wellington city, Wellington Harbour, surrounding hills and mountains, and Wellington Airport.|
You can see the approximate route you will have to walk from the northern end of the Southern Walkway on Oriental Parade to the location of the Mount Victoria Lookout platform displayed on this Google map.
Video of the Mount Victoria Lookout walk in Wellington
This 6-minute video gives you an impression of what to expect on this scenic city walk up to the lookout on the summit of Mount Victoria in Wellington on the North Island of New Zealand.
This article falls under Day Walks.
Note: Walking tracks and trails can be changed or get closed. The information presented here was accurate when it was gathered.