Red Rocks Reserve, Wellington Overview

The Red Rocks Reserve is perfect for a Sunday stroll on a warm, sunny day. Located just a 20-minute drive from the city of Wellington, the walkway boasts the most breathtaking views, with rugged volcanic ridges on one side and the calm, serene ocean on the other. But, of course, one can't miss the distinctive colour of the red rocks, which get their colour from deposits of iron oxide. The walkway is around 8 kilometres each way, but you are rewarded by seeing fur seals basking in the sun at the end!

The place is easily accessible by car and bus and is especially popular among bikers who come down from the city for a morning or evening ride! The total walk will take around 2 hours if you see the seals, too, so make sure you come prepared with walking shoes, water and snacks. Washroom facilities are available at the entrance of the walkway, entry to which is free of cost! So, take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city of Wellington and take a stroll in nature’s lap – make sure you don’t scare the seals!

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Things to Do

There are a few things you should definitely experience at Red Rocks Reserve:

Seal-spotting- Your visit will definitely be made worthwhile once you see fur seals chilling and soaking in the sun! Make sure you carry your camera and a good zoom lens to capture these beautiful creatures. Also, don’t go too close to them as they are easily affected by stress.

Red Rocks Walkway– The mode of transport depends upon your comfort level, but make sure you explore it as much as possible and take in the beautiful views of the sea from the place. The view is even more breathtaking during sunrise and sunset. It is very popular among cyclists, joggers, and people who come to walk their dogs!


The Red Rocks Reserve has a fascinating geological history. It gets its name because of the fiery-coloured rocks along the sea. These rocks were formed due to underwater volcanic activity, and got their reddish colour due to iron oxide deposits on them.

The walkway extends right next to the sea on one side and rugged, volcanic ridges on the other. The area also boasts of having a large variety of native flora and fauna, the most popular of which are the fur seals! The seals can be seen in large numbers from May to October, relaxing on the rocks.


The area is also rich in Maori history. It was used by the tribe for fishing and gathering food, but no signs of a settlement have been found yet. There are several Maori legends that seek to explain the red colour of the rocks –Maui stained the rocks with his blood from his nose, and used the blood to bait the enemy; Maui injured himself on the rocks and bled; early explorer Kupa had his hand cut by a shellfish; or Kupa’s daughters gashed themselves on the rocks in grief over his absence.

How To Reach Red Rocks Reserve

You can use the following means to get to the Red Rocks Walkway:
  • Bus – This is the cheapest and most convenient way of getting to the area. The bus line 1 goes to the area, and the closest station is the last one, and a 15 minute walk from the actual Walkway. You could hail and ride the buses that operate on the route after this.
  • Taxi – The walkway is located at a 20 minute drive from central Wellington, and is easily accessible by car. There are several cab services that operate in the city, such as Uber, and are quite popular. A ride will cost around NZD 20 - 27 each way.
  • Car – You can drive down for a few hours from the city of Wellington. There is plenty of parking space available around the area, with scenic views.
  • Cycle – A ride to the walkway is definitely very doable for even beginners who are into cycling. It is located only 10 kilometres away, and will make for a great morning ride!

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