A hut where you are guaranteed to have the whole place to yourself? Where you have to cross a river numerous times to get there? Where you don't have to carry crockery or cooking equipment, leaving room for a bottle of wine in your bag? Sign me up!
A walk on a predator free island (well, apart from humans), less than a hour's drive from New Zealand's capital city? A walk that starts and ends with a boat trip? The opportunity to see birdlife up close and personal? If all of the above appeals to you, then you need to get yourself to Kāpiti Island, ASAP.
I don't know of many capital cities where you can drive 10 minutes from the city centre and see seals. And not just one seal, but heaps of seals, sunbathing themselves on rocks and generally just being rather adorable!
The number one reason I like this walk is because it starts in the heart of the city, but within 30 minutes you can look around and not see any sign of people. That's my kind of walk! The second reason is that it ends at the beach. And not just that, but a beach with seals! If those aren't two fantastic reasons to do this walk, then I'm not sure what would be.
I've walked tracks on Mt Victoria a hundred times. But it seems like each time I do I still manage to find a new path I haven't come across before and manage to not follow the track I want to be on. This was a loop walk so I figured it was going to be well signposted, which it was. Mostly. But I still managed to get off the loop, but I found my way back on to it, purely by accident!
Mt Kaukau - the big mountain in Wellington with the giant transmitter on top. It' s the one place that you can see from pretty much anywhere in Wellington, and one of the places that makes most people say 'oh Mt Kaukau, I keep meaning to walk to the top but I haven't done it yet' (seriously, say to five people you've walked Mt Kaukau and that response will be one of the five).
Field Hut is one of the oldest huts in New Zealand. It's had some work done to it over its nearly 100 year life span, but it still holds up remarkably well. There's lots of old photos on the wall of the guys that cleared the area and built the Hut, along with their stories. It makes for interesting reading and provides a neat point of difference for the Hut. It also has a helicopter pad attached to it if you want to save your thighs from burning and just fly on in!
Makara Beach is one of those spots that you can imagine yourself retiring to live, where you spend your days walking along the beach, collecting driftwood and paua shells, before returning to your cosy house to read books and drink cups of tea in front of the fire. It's that kind of place.
On a weekend where most people were curled up at home, watching Netflix and keeping dry, we decided to go for a hike and stay overnight in a 60+ year old Hut in the middle of nowhere with no power and no promise of dry firewood on one of the wettest weekends in Wellington.
This gem of an island is in the middle of Wellington harbour and provides the perfect 360 degree view around the harbour.
The easiest way to access the island is via ferry from central Wellington, or Day's Bay. If you're super fit and feel like a challenge, you are welcome to kayak or swim (!) on over.