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Mount Kaukau , Wellington Overview

Mount Kaukau is located at the height of 445 meters above sea level. It is the highest point in the Wellington landscape, and hence, Wellington’s central television transmitter tower, which is 122 meters in height, was built on its summit in 1965. Rimutaka, the city, and Tararua Ranges are visible from this mountain.

Mount Kaukau
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Mount Kaukau has been a great attraction spot for mountain climbers, mountain bikers, and even school field trips. The lookout of this mountain allows you to enjoy the beautiful views of Wellington City and Harbour by sitting on a bench at the top of the hill. Climbing this 4 km mountain trail will take about 1.5 - 3 hours (based on one’s fitness and ability) which starts and ends at Khandallah Park. The mountain was formerly known as ‘Tarikaka’, which means ‘where the pigeons rested’. Unfortunately, the native parrot ‘kaka’, seen throughout the city, started to decline in numbers. But thanks to Zealandia for making the regeneration of ‘kaka’ possible today, which are seen commonly throughout Wellington City.

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Walking tracks

The top of the mountain can be reached by five ways, i.e., Simla Crescent, Clarke Street, Woodmancote Road, Sirsi Crescent, and Truscott Avenue. The walking track consists of several steps, gravel pathways and sections that are quite steep to climb. The climb on Mount KauKau proves to be a good workout, and that is why tourists and locals find it exciting to walk or run up the hill. The condition of the track is good and well maintained. But they can get muddy and slippery after heavy rains. 
There is parking space available for cars, a swimming pool for kids to play in and a cafe to enjoy some snacks or coffee when you finish the trek.

The Climb

Walking past the carpark, follow the path beyond the cafe and swimming pool and then take the track to the right which says “Mount KauKau via the Northern Walkway”. For about 30 - 40 minutes, this track climbs up the north ridge and then merges with the Te Araroa and Northen Walkway tracks. Once you reach Northern Walkway and Te Araroa tracks, it takes about 10 - 15 minutes to reach the top of Mount KauKau. It is this point that offers excellent views from the top.
What to Do At the Top
One can enjoy the beautiful views from a viewing platform which has benches and picnic tables. Once you are done taking a lot of pictures, you can begin the descent down the South Ridgeback to the carpark at Woodmancotes Road. 
Public Transport
If you are planning on using public transport, you can either return to Woodmancotes Road or stay on the South Ridge which leads to Simla Crescent. The train station at Simla Crescent is a 4-min walk from the end of the track.

The Kaukau Challenge

Kaukau Challenge has been a yearly event since 2006. The Khandala School organises a fun trip every year to Mount Kaukau. The starting point of this fun challenge is from Khandallah school. The entire path will be filled with signposts to make it easier for the students to reach the summit. Once the students enter the top of the mountain, they are given prizes. Food stalls are set up once the students climb down the hill and get back to the school.

Best Time to Visit

Summer months (December, January, and February) are always the best time to climb these hills due to the excellent weather. If you would like to see the Kaikoura Range covered in snow, then the best time to visit would be during winter (June, July, and August) and Spring (September, October, and November). But be aware of the slippery tracks due to the snow.
While the beginning of the tracks includes passing through the forests, it is better to walk during summer when there is very less wind and sunny. The trails can get muddy and slippery after heavy rains. It is better to go after a few days because the water can stay in the mud up to 3-4 days.
It is also advised to go during the daytime as the paths can be difficult and tricky as it gets darker.

How To Reach Mount Kaukau

Catching a train is the fastest way to get to Mount Kaukau. One can hop on to the Johnsonville Line train from Wellington Central Station to Simla Crescent Station. From Wellington city centre, it is a 55 minutes drive by car to the mountain. Although car parking space is difficult to find in Simla Crescent and Sirsi Terrace, you could use the parking facilities at Woodmancote Road and Truscott Avenue car parks.

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