From regional parks to tracks and river trails

There's something for everyone!

The Hutt Valley has some of the best outdoor play areas in New Zealand for us to enjoy and they're all in our own back yard!

There are seven breathtakingly beautiful regional parks close at hand, with trails to suit all ages and abilities. Plus there are lots of local tracks and river trails to keep you busy. You can go camping, tramping, kayaking and rafting, horse-riding or mountain biking or just relax and enjoy a picnic with family and friends.

Joining a local tramping club is a good way to explore the Hutt Valley and allows more experienced trampers to pass on their knowledge. Local clubs are Hutt Valley Tramping Club and Upper Valley Tramping Club. If you are going tramping, have a read of Tips for keeping safe.

Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt regional parks, trails and tracks

Greater Wellington regional parks:
          Hutt Valley tracks and trails:

Beautiful gardens to visit in Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt

There's some wonderful gardens to visit locally  -

Upper Hutt gardens

  • Aston Norwood Gardens
    The secret gardens at Aston Norwood Gardens, just north of Upper Hutt, are now open for public viewing after 15 years of development! There is a large Cherry Blossom garden, formal garden, lakes, azaleas and a cafe. A day pass is $5 per person, yearly passes are $15 and a life time pass is $30.
    Find the country gardens at Kaitoke, SH2 Upper Hutt, 10 minutes into the scenic drive north of Upper Hutt, on the southern side of the Rimutakas. Phone 04 526 6639 or email
  • Efil Doog  - Garden of Art
    Efil Doog ("good life" backwards!) is the home and garden of Ernest and Shirley Cosgrove. They began establishing the 11-acre garden in 1976 and it flourishes now with a surprising array of sculptures and rhododendrons, nestled among the riverbanks and ponds

    Efil Doog is no longer open to the public for general visits. Subject to the season and circumstances however, visits by special interest groups such as gardening, cruise, wedding photography, Probus and Friendship Force may be arranged by appointment
    1995 Akatarawa Road,
    RD2 Upper Hutt
    Ph 04 526 7924

Lower Hutt gardens - New Zealand’s first garden city!

  • Riddiford Gardens - Queens Drive & Laings Road, Lower Hutt
    Enjoy the year-round displays of long border and flower beds in front Lower Hutt's town hall and city council buildings and discover the sculptures in front of the Dowse Museum. Around the civic buildings is a delightful woodland area with a pond and water feature and two glass houses which have rotating exhibitions of exotic flowers. Behind the civic buildings is a playground area and past the library is an aviary. Phone (04) 576 6666
  • Percy Reserve - Lower Hutt, just off State Highway 2, north of Korokoro
    Discover many rare and endangered New Zealand species including Chatham Islands and New Zealand alpine collections. The woodland areas are a lovely setting for enjoying a picnic and there are a number of easy walking tracks and a cave to explore!
  • Jubilee Park - Normandale Road, Normandale
    Jubilee Park gardens opened in 1940 to commemorate 100 years of the Wellington province. The park has an open lawn, picnic areas, bush walks and heritage plantings throughout the park.

Mountain biking and local walks

Wainuiomata Trail ProjectMission: mountain biking - get out in the bush with your bike (why not?)
Location: Waiu Street Wainuiomata Trail Project.
What you need: a mountain bike or wheels that will handle the off road conditions. A basic bike tool kit.
Tips: Bring your lunch. There isn't anywhere nearby to buy food or drinks. Toilets and shelter are on site. The Wainuiomata Trail tracks link to the ECNZ track along the ridge of the Eastern Hills. You could ride to Waiu Street from places like the top of Kingsley Street or Summit Road..
Eastern Harbour
Pencarrow Lighthouse
Mission: walk or ride out to the two lighthouses at Baring Heads.
Location: start at the carpark at the end of Muritai Road, Eastbourne and follow the gravel road along the Wellington Harbour coastline.
What you need: helmets, food and water, sunblock and a bike that can handle a gravel road.
Tips: its a long, flat gravel road to the lighthouse. Check out the weather forecast so you don't have to fight your way back in a northerly! You'll discover the lighthouse keeper's story as you walk up to the operating lighthouse. Toilets are near the carpark. There are two inland lakes further around the coast which are worth a visit.
Matiu/Somes IslandMission: cruise out to Matiu/Somes Island.
Location: middle of Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington Harbour.
What you'd need: hat and sunblock, good shoes, backpack, picnic and drinks.
Tips: catch the East by West Ferry. There is lots of history on the island, plus great crab hunting along the shore and of course, stunning views over the harbour.
Butterfly Creek,
Mission: head over the hills for a picnic at Butterfly Creek.
Location: top of Kowhai St, Eastbourne, Lower Hutt.
Tips: Take a backpack, and hat, sunnies and sunblock. It takes about 1.5 hours from Kowhai St entrance and back again, but if you take it slow, there are great views across the harbour before you drop over the back of the coastal hills into the hidden valleys behind. There's picnic tables and a small bridge with eels in the river so take a picnic and enjoy the day!
Hutt River Trail
Mission: travel the Hutt River as it flows from Akatarawa River into Wellington Harbour.
Location: the trail is 28.4kms long so you can start at any point between Hikoikoi Reserve on the Petone foreshore, or Birchville Dam and the Akatarawa River, in Upper Hutt.
Stop for a bite to eat or take a picnic.
Petone BeachMission: build a driftwood fort and devour a top quality pie from the Lions Kiosk.
Location: Petone Beach, east end, behind Lions Park.
What you need: drink, towel and if it's sunny, a hat and sunblock.
Tips: toilet at Lions Park behind kiosk; kiosk opens weekdays only. Fires are not allowed on HCC beaches. Bush walk (loop track) in native beech forest Café in Guthrie St and Petone Settlers Museum.
Western Hills
Korokoro Dam and Belmont Trig
Mission: follow the old steel pipeline from the Cornish Street entrance to the Korokoro Dam.
Location: starts at the end of Cornish St, Petone.
Tips: check out the first gravity fed concrete dam in New Zealand, built to supply water for the Petone Borough in 1903. Either return the same way, or take one of the more difficult climbs into the Belmont Regional Park. Watch out! Some sections of track are narrow with a near-vertical drop to the stream, so caution is advised.
Jubilee Park
Mission: discover an historic house, the remains of a settlers cottage, a fernery, streams and native bush.
Location: there are two entrances on Normandale Road and one on Gaskill Drive. Check out
Tips: bikes are permitted but there are lots of steps.
Percy Scenic Reserve
Mission: critter encounter - get up close to wetas in their cave habitat.
Location: Percy Scenic Reserve weta cave.
What you need: Torch.
Upper Hutt
Kaitoke Regional Park
Mission: cross the mighty swing bridge high above the Kaitoki River.
Location: park in the main carpark near the Swingbridge track. Loop takes about 15 mins.
What you need: backpack, good shoes. Swimsuits and towels (if taking a dip in the river afterwards), picnic and drinks.
Tips: you might need to carry some dogs across the bridge. There's lots more to discover at Kairoke ... Rivendell, water works, stunning forest and swimming. Take a picnic and drinks then relax by the river and marvel at the beauty around. Toilets located by the carpark. There's also a campgound in the park.
Tunnel GullyMission: discover the historic Rimutaka Railway between Wellington and the Wairarapa and walk through the 253m long Mangaroa Tunnel, built between 1875 and 1877.
Location: turn off SH2 onto Plateau Road at Te Marua, 6km north of Upper Hutt. Park in the carpark in the Tunnel Gully Recreation Area.
What you need: backpack, hats, sunscreen, swimsuits and towels (if you fancy a dip), picnic and drinks.
Tips: Tane's Track is a medium walk and takes 1 hour. Start at the lower picnic area and take the left-hand branch of the track. If you like, you can swim in the shallow Collins Stream. Bikes are allowed.

Staglands Wildlife Reserve & Cafe

Staglands Wildlife Reserve & Cafe offers visitors the unique and exciting opportunity to connect with nature in a beautiful, natural environment. Feed and freely interact with wildlife in this very special place - the product of one man’s passion and vision to experience nature at its best. Located in the scenic Akatarawa Valley near Upper Hutt, Wellington, Staglands is a ‘must see’ attraction for local families and tourists visiting the Wellington region. Looking for things to do in Wellington, look no further.  

Staglands Wildlife Reserve is, hands down, the best place to visit as family in the Wellington region. It is also a great destination for school and group visits, picnics and BBQ’s or if you are looking for activities and things to do in Wellington with your family and friends that’s different from animal farm parks or Zoo’s.  

There is also Staglands cosy café - a stunning log building with an open fire, outdoor seating, BBQ/picnic area and sumptuous menu.

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Friends of the Hutt River

If you'd like to help care for and nurture the Hutt River and its tributaries then join the Friends of the Hutt River. Contact Pat 04 528 8072, mobile: 021 145 9789 or Lynne 04 526 7775, or email