Looking for a solid hill workout? Meet Mt Climie (aka Mt Climbie)!
The Mount Climie track starts from the Tunnel Gully Recreation Area, just north of Upper Hutt. It is probably one of the most accessible “alpine” runs in the Wellington area. Although a return trip only clocks in at around 12kms, the tops open out into tussock and stunning mountain vistas. Don’t let the length fool you though: this run is no push-over! Be prepared for some leg and lung-burning goodness.
- The summit of Mt Climie is 860m high, one of the highest peaks in the Wellington area.
- Back in the 1990s, a downhill mountain-biking race used to be held at Mt Climie each year, before the Karapoti race.
Distance: About 12kms return. You can link this up with other tracks in Tunnel Gully to extend your run.
Elevation: 680m elevation gain and loss.
Difficulty: The track is a gravel 4WD road so it isn’t technical. However, it is steep and it doesn’t let up. You may need to walk sections.
Estimated time: From around 1 hour 10 minutes (if you’re speedy) to 2 hours (if you want to allow plenty of photo time!).
Start and end point: The top carpark and picnic area in Tunnel Gully Recreation Area. To get there, turn off SH2 onto Plateau Road at Te Marua, 6km north of Upper Hutt and follow the signs to Tunnel Gully. Once in the reserve, follow the road until it ends.
Directions: The Mt Climie track is the obvious, signposted 4wd road beginning at the end of the sealed road. Once you are on the track navigation is easy, as there are no turn-offs.
The first 4.5km section is a steady climb with very little in the way of “rests”; pace yourself accordingly. The track then flattens off briefly where you’ll find a false summit with a trig. Carry on along the road, which descends briefly before another short climb to the Mt Climie summit.
You will be rewarded for your hard work with stunning views over the Hutt Valley on one side, and over to the Wairarapa on the other. Make sure you pause to admire them (and make the most of the photo opportunity) before descending back the way you came.
You will drive past toilets and water lower down in Tunnel Gully Recreation Reserve, but there are none at the top carpark. Make sure you have everything you need before setting off, as there is no water on the Mt Climie track.
In terms of post-run nourishment, Mt Climie is close to Upper Hutt. Here you’ll find food. Try the Fig Tree Cafe or the Kereru Brewery cellar door (open on Saturdays from 10am-5pm) if you’re in the mood for a beer after all that hard work. If you’re driving back to Wellington, there are also plenty of café and bar options in Petone.
Taking your own car (or car pooling with others) is the easiest option. If you would like to take public transport, there are two options:
- Catch the 112 Te Marua bus from Upper Hutt Station to the turnaround area near the end of Plateau Road. Walk approximately 1km to reach Tunnel Gully.
- Catch the train to Maymorn Station and walk or cycle 2km up the track and through the historic Mangaroa tunnel to Tunnel Gully.
You can extend the run by adding on some of the other tracks in Tunnel Gully Recreation Area. The link below includes a map of the reserve.