From Wellington to Red Rocks.
Duration without the picture stops (Only to go from Wellington to Red Rocks): 4h 15mins
Difficulty: Easy (Steep in Mount Victoria but that is all)
Everybody kept telling us we should go to Red Rocks someday because it is really nice and it is a short hike (45 minutes).
We met quite an interesting guy on our way! I thought they only were on Easter Island.
We decided to go as we didn’t know what to do this week end and we were out of the hotel. That is another story but I can tell it because it kind of scared me a bit to not know where we would sleep on Saturday night with our big backpacks! If you want to skip to the interesting stuff, that is to say the hike, click here.
We book the room from one week to another since we have been in Wellington because we hoped to get a flat sooner than that. Though this time, when I went on Wednesday to book a new week, the room we were in was already taken and there was only one expensive room left for next week. Mhmm I found it strange so I asked if we booked starting on Sunday another room would be free and they said yes. So I said Ok, we are supposed to go to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing this week end so we might not need to book the room for Saturday anyways. But our trip was postponed because one of the drivers injured himself and could not drive. So we didn’t know what to do! We looked for things to do not too far from Wellington so we won’t have to rent a car and pay an expensive hotel but the only thing we could think of was Red Rock. That’s how we decided to go. The only thing left was to find a place to sleep. All the cheap hostels in town were fully booked. Something to know is that today (Monday 25th of April) is ANZAC day, a holiday in New Zealand (Story to tell tomorrow!) plus there might have been a game in town so all the hotels were pretty full. We looked on AirBnB and found a place that looked nice and cheap near Red Rocks, we tried to book it several times during Thursday night but it did not worked! AirBnB was not working! So until Saturday morning, when AirBnB system started to work again and we could book the room, we had no idea where we were going to sleep on Saturday night! Reminder: Always book another week at least when paying for the current.
As we had all day to reach Red Rocks, we decided to walk there. Someone told us it took two to three hours from the center of the city. We went to an information point to ask for the solutions we had to go there. The lady seemed to be sceptical that we wanted to walk there and kept telling us that there was a bus going there. We left with no more informations as we came in. Great! We looked on a map and decided to go through Mount Victoria and reach the coast on the East side of the city and then go along the coast until Red Rocks.
There are quite a few ways to to to red rocks. Either you go along the coast or through the mountains. I would advise you to go to the tourist information instead of the DOC though. They have a map with the cycle/walking trails around Wellington but we discovered that only on our way back.
We already walked several times in Mount Victoria. The challenge this time was with the huge backpack we had on our shoulders. I never walked with such a bag on the back. Usually I have my back that hurts when I carry a heavy bag for too long but this time it was not that bad and I even succeeded hiking up without moaning! (Yes that’s a big improvement! Ask Alexis ahah).
We stopped for eating on the other side of Mount Vic (as Kiwis called it) before reaching south to the coast.
Another big challenge was the wind. We had a preview of why Wellington is called Windy Welly. It was the first day we had that much wind. It comes suddenly and is very strong, like it stops you from walking for a bit.
We had a few water drops but it was mostly wind and clouds above our heads. The coast is really nice but looks a bit like Brittany in France. The rocks are quite similar in a way. Cliffs are the only thing missing but the transparency of the water is matchless.
We met a lot of divers along the way that were looking for a king of crabs. We also met some really strange houses. New Zealanders know how to do surprising houses!
The house that you only can go in by a lift. How the hell did they build it?
The house with a strange style, a big veranda and lots of colors.
The house with a boat balcony.
We learned also that New Zealand was very alert of Tsunamis. In facts, New Zealand is located on a seismic fault plus if a seismic of high amplitude happened in Chile, it could bring a Tsunami to New Zealand too. All along the coast, there are informations about what to do in case of a Tsunami. It will just tell you to go as high as possible. They marked several roads to show the “Tsunami Evacuation Road”.
We stopped at our AirBnB to drop our bags for the end of the hike. It was almost 4PM and we had 2 more hours to reach Red Rocks.
View from the AirBnB, not bad huh?
We walked almost an hour to reach the beginning of the hike and we were quite surprised by how many 4×4 there were. There were all going into the sand and following the same path we were about to take! New Zealanders (Kiwis) know how to have fun on a windy Saturday! Nop, the wind did not stop.
The coast is beautiful. The water is so clean, so transparent. It is quite impressive and unbelievable. The road was quite hard to walk on first because of the strong winds and second because of the too many cars.
We thought we would see Red Rocks like in the US, like in Zion National Park, with this beautiful warm red color, and we thought we would see it all along the walkway but that is not what happened. Red Rocks is a spot not really wide where red rocks fell of a cliff. Just one cliff. So it is just in one point that rocks are red. Well, they called it red but it is more purple than red. But still it looked pretty. I am sure it looks even prettier when it is sunny because of the color the water must have with sun light hitting it.
But the Red Rock Walkway is not just to go see that small spot with red rocks. You can walk further along the coast. From there (and to there) there are many walks on the mountains that we might do later in the year. There is another spot not too far from the rocks that is called “Devil’s gate” because truly, it looks like a Devil’s Gate. Even more with the sun setting as we saw it. Very often there are some seals going there but we met a girl that told us she had been standing there for an hour without seeing one so we decided to go home.
The Devil's gate in the back. The little path between the rocks.
Alexis wanted to go further but I promised we would go back before leaving New Zealand because there is much more to see in this area 🙂
I have to tell you that it was a very long day but I can see that my limits are far from what I expected. By the end I was tired and hungry but I was happy to have been that far. More over, the bed, the mellow pillows, the thick blanket and the nice shower were very much appreciated. Our host was very nice and interesting too. For a first experience of AirBnB it was perfect!