Leg 4 – Seaview to Petone

7 kilometres
1 hr 30 min (walk)
30 mins (cycle)
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The fourth leg of the Great Harbour Way begins at Seaview Marina on Port Road.

From the gates of the marina, head on Port Road away from the hill with the marina on your left. Port Road soon veers right. Cycle, or continue walking on the grass with the estuary on your left.

In about 15 minutes walking, or 5 minutes cycling, where Port Road bends right, go straight ahead, on to the marked cycle/walking trail to the Hutt Estuary Bridge just ahead of you.

A detour can be made from the bridge, on cycle or foot, by following the Hutt River Trail, which flanks both east and west sides of the river. There are numerous crossings where you can double back and rejoin the Great Harbour Way – the first of which is Ava Rail Bridge. The Hutt River Trail is also part of the Rimutaka Trail, a Nga Haerenga/ New Zealand Cycle Trail which follows the Hutt River to cross the ranges on the Rimutaka Rail Trail, returning by following Lake Wairarapa to the coast then around Turakirae Head to Orongorongo Station and the Wainuiomata Road.

Cross the Hutt Estuary Bridge on the southern side to continue on the Great Harbour Way. The first signpost directs you to the short Estuary Boadwalk – a 5-minute diversion. Just past this signpost is the Hikoikoi Walkway, leading to the Hikoikoi Reserve. Turn left on to this path. Where the path forks, take the left fork for Breakwater Rest Area, another short diversion offering views back across the estuary and a peek at quaint boatsheds. Back on the track, continue until you reach the reserve car park. Information about the reserve is displayed a few steps away to the right.

The reserve, the site of Ngati Awa’s Hikoikoi Pa, is pleasant green spot at this somewhat industrialised end of Petone foreshore. Follow the path towards your left, along the estuary edge, towards the lookout and sea scouts. As it leads right, cross the entrance to the sandworks and stay on the path, or walk along the beach if you prefer.

Soon you’ll reach a public toilet, children’s playground, an ice-cream kiosk and sculpture garden. This is the start of Petone Esplanade – fresh sea breeze, screaming gulls, fish & chips and salty lips.

Petone gets its name from Pito-one pa, which occupied the western end of the beach. The local chief, Te Puni, was responsible for negotiating the settlement of European immigrants with William Wakefield, director of the New Zealand Company, and so Petone became the first European settlement in the Wellington area. Despite fire and flood, and a resolution by Wakefield to shift the fledgling settlement to Thorndon, Petone eventually thrived. In 1940 the Wellington Provincial Centennial Memorial, which you’ll soon reach, about half-way along the esplanade, was opened to commemorate the arrival of European immigrants. Today the Memorial houses the Petone Settler’s Museum. The museum is well worth a look if you want to learn more about the area – it will take you 30-60 minutes to look around and entry is free.

Don’t resist the walk on to Petone Wharf! You get a wide open perspective from here, and Matiu-Somes Island seems so very close. The wharf was built in 1907, but an inadequate connection to the railway limited its use. Today it is mainly used for fishing, and if you’re lucky you’ll see shoals of little fish flipping about in the waves below. Some East by West Ferry services stop at the wharf. The Wharf is also the official start of the Rimutaka Cycle Trail.

Adjacent to Petone wharf is Victoria Street – a good place to cut through to Jackson Street, Petone’s main street, home to scores of shops and cafes.

About 10 minutes further on from Petone Wharf is the Korokoro Gateway car park, the end of this leg of the Great Harbour Way.

Toilets Seaview Marina
Hikoikoi Reserve
Petone Esplanade (numerous)
Public transport Metlink (bus services), tel 0800-801-7000
Hutt & City Taxis, tel 570-0057
Accommodation Hutt City Visitor Accommodation Information
Useful contacts Hutt City Visitor Information
Hutt City Cycling Trails