I never thought that one day our typical weekend would be like driving on hills and climbing mountains. As someone who has massive fear of heights, I was always reluctant to do any activities that involved heights. But now that I live in New Zealand, I am not going to let my acrophobia get in the way of enjoying this beautiful country. And for this reason, I decided to desensitize myself from my fear and become more adventurous. So last Sunday, we finally went up to Mount Kaukau- the highest point in Wellington City at 445 metres above sea level.
It's autumn here and so the weather is more unpredictable than ever. When we left our flat, it was sunny. Less than 20 minutes later, it suddenly became cloudy. Luckily, it was not that cold and windy so I was okay in my shorts and my jumper.
We met J's colleagues at Carmichael Street in Johnsonville. From there, we took the Skyline Walkway to Mount Kaukau. There are other routes you can take from Ngaio and Khandallah then through either Northern Walkway or Skyline Walkway. Few minutes into our climb, I saw this stunning view behind us.
The trail from this entry point is not too bad. I can't even say it is steep but in some parts it is slightly rocky, so I would recommend wearing proper walking boots or comfortable trainers. I am not sure how long it took us to get to top because we were walking slowly and we also stopped a few times to take photos and to wait for our little trooper. But on average I guess you can climb up in less than an hour. In saying that, you have to be reasonably fit. Generally though, I can say that people in New Zealand are fit. We met a few people from all ages along the way. Most people were walking like us, but some others took their fitness to another level by running or cycling up the hills, which I thought was kind of crazy but I guess that's a norm for the fit Kiwis.
Further up we were greeted by some cows which was exciting for me as it brought back some childhood memories of when my father had cows and carabao. He used to take them up the mountains everyday. Ah, those were the days.
Anyway, if you notice the tower in the photo below, that's how far we had to walk to get to the top of Mount Kaukau.
The views were consistently amazing throughout the walk and they only got better the higher we climbed. We saw wind turbines, beautiful hills and valleys, the harbour and the incredible view of Wellington city and we were not even on the top yet.
Now, here is something interesting. When I was going through the photos that J took, I noticed an image of a man with a hat in the photo below. I'm not sure how quickly you can spot it, but it's just amazing how trees and bushes can create such images.
The tower on top of Mount Kaukau is the main television transmitter tower in Wellington.
When we finally reached the summit, we were rewarded with not just the most magnificent views of Wellington (and a bit of the South island), but also with a beautiful rainbow- a double rainbow in fact. The weather was definitely in our favour that day as the sun came out for a bit when we were on top and it was not windy at all. We were lucky to be able to take good quality photos of the stupendous views.
This whole hiking experience was more fun and memorable because of the youngest person in our group. At just 3 1/2 years old, she managed to climb up to the top on foot. Yes, she honestly didn't get any help at all. She is such an inspiring little person. She is even more adventurous than I am as she preferred to walk on the "unbeaten path" and on higher trails. I have so much respect for her and her father. The hills were definitely much more alive because of her.
On our way back down, there was this man who was playing some instrument at the bottom of the hill and his music was so beautiful. There was this tinge of hope in his music, almost telling me that every climb is worthwhile no matter how hard or high it has been.
Ah, I now have lived in two capital cities. In London, you have to go up a high rise building to see the beautiful view of the city while in Wellington, you have to climb up a mountain. This is why I love change because for me, change forces you to see things in a different perspective and gives you the opportunity to experience the best things and learn the best lessons in life.
On that note, let me tell you that the hike to Mount Kaukau is definitely worth it. So if you're visiting Wellington or if New Zealand is on your bucket list, find time visit the capital and climb this mountain. You won't regret it. There is no better place to enjoy the 365- degree view of the capital than here. Well, for me anyway.