If Wellington is like San Francisco, then Mt Victoria is like Twin Peaks. It's the best place within the city to enjoy a panoramic overview of the harbour, the city centre, and the nearby suburbs. Incidentally, the slopes of this hill provided one of the settings for Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy.
If you have no car or are not into hiking or just too short of breath to make a longish uphill walk, put the Mt. Victoria Lookout on your Things to do list of a weekday. Strangely enough, the Metlink buses (# 20) do not service this line on Saturdays and Sundays.
On Saturdays the only option to drive up there if you do not have a car is the Wellington Rover (this only makes sense if you plan a big sightseeing tour with a day pass for NZ$ 40), and there is no service at all on Sundays.
The hill is 196 metres high, and you have a great panoramic view of the city, the harbour, the docks, and up to the Hutt Valley.
Adjacent to the carpark at the top is the Byrd Memoral, a triangular construction which depicts a tent of an Antarctic expedition under the southern light. The memorial was erected in honour of the American flight and Antarctic pioneer Richard E. Byrd (1888 – 1957). New Zealand was the base for his adventures. He was the first person to fly over the South Pole in an airplane.
Somehow you will always be reminded of Mt. Victoria. Coming from the airport you will cross the Mt. Victoria Tunnel on the way to the city centre.
Photo 2 shows the Mt. Victoria tunnel.
I wouldn't recommend walking up Mt Vic! Here is a story of my little adventure. My friend and I were planning on walking around the waterfront of Oriental Bay. It was really nice around there, i would recommend walking up on top of, I think its called the Fishermans Restuarant? You get a really nice view of the city. Anyway we were just waking wherever the waterfront would take us, when we saw a sign pointing to the Mt Victoria Lookout up the hill. So we headed up the hill, following the road way as we didnt know where we were going. After walking for quite a while, we thought we must be almost there. But we just headed uphill - we knew the lookout must be at the top. We walked for almost 1.5hrs when we finally made it to the top! And we weren't exactly wearing appropriate shoes for it. Nice jandals for the both uf us. But the view was amazing & we could see where we were staying - the big Zebra striped building. We planned to catch a bus back down - there was no way we were walking that distance again! But imagine our horror when we read the bus timetable only to be told that there are no buses to or from Mt Victoria on a Sat/Sun/Public Hol. We were extremely annoyed & after asking a local, we walked down through the bush - cutting out heaps of road.
So the moral of the story is: If you're planning on going up Mt Victoria, either catch a bus during the week or make sure you have reliable transport on wheels!
You can take the public bus to get to Mount Victoria. Stagecoach bus #20 runs from Wellington Station, through Lambton Quay and Courtenay Place. Operates Monday - Friday. Best to get a Day Tripper ticket, NZ$5.00 (single fare costs NZ$2.50).
Mt Victoria is another great spot to get an aerial view of the city as it looks back across the harbour towards the CBD.
You also get a great views of the surrounding mountain range and the extensive waterways in the area.
This iconic mountain (196m) is one of Wellington's best lookout spots - affording spectacular 360º views of the city & harbour, and across to Hutt Valley and the eastern harbour. From the carpark, walk up a short flight of steps leading up to the lookout... here are some good views of the city waterfront and docks.
Next to the carpark @ the top is the Byrd Memorial, honouring US aviator and explorer Richard Byrd - the first man to fly over the South Pole.
If you haven't got access to a car, you can catch bus 20 (Mondays to Fridays), from the train station or Courtenay Place. You can also walk up as part of the Southern Walkway.
The photo on the left is looking towards Cook Strait & the southern suburbs. Byrd Memorial can be seen @ the bottom of this lookout point (far side of the carpark).
I've got more photos from Mt Victoria in Travelogue section.
A must do trip either by car or by foot is to go the Mount Victoria summit and lookout. 196 metres high there are sweeping views of the city, harbour and Tinakori Hill, the Hutt Valley and eastern harbour bays, Matiu/Somes Island and the Miramar Peninsula. Beyond are Baring and Pencarrow Heads and further to the right, Wellington's eastern and southern suburbs.
Mt Victoria summit is about 700ft above sea level, giving a panoramic view of Wellington, surrounding hills and looking out into the Cook Straight.
This is a great vantage point to take photos of Wellington if you can find your way around the twisting streets.
There is a monument on Mt Victoria called the Byrd Monument. This monument was built orginally in 1962 to honour arctic explorer Rear Admiral Richard Byrd. This has since been redesigned, it consists of over 2000 ceramic tiles depicting the Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights.
Definately worth a trip up here either in the day or at night, to gaze over the city of Wellington.
Mt Victoria is the best known viewpoint which looks over the city, harbour and Cook Straight and the Hutt Valley. This photograph looks roughly northwest across Oriental Bay to the heart of the city. The memorial to Byrd of the Antarctic is at the top.
With the city spread below you around the harbour area and the suburbs clinging to the hillside, the view from the top of Mount Victoria is worth the effort.
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