Tip Track

Name

Tip Track

Location

Hawkins Hill, Wellington, New Zealand

Overview

A classic Wellington track with an honest altitude change. Mostly packed rock and gravel with patches of clay on the bottom half and patches of loose gravel on the top half. The council blades this 4wd track about once a year so it is usually in good condition, however serious ruts do form after heavy rain. The surrounding hills are mostly covered in gorse which is slowly regenerating. Plenty of wild goats and rabbits for company. In late spring the lower slopes turn purple with a weed daisy that has taken hold. This track can be ridden in either direction, and is quite exposed to the northerly which can add extra challenge on the upper half. The views from the top are excellent, and on a clear day you can see all of Wellington and harbour, the Tararua mountains and the top of the South Island.

Grade

Advanced

Access

Bike and Foot

Description

Going up. The climb is in two main sections with a brief descent/rest in the middle. The climbing starts immediately at the big metal gate at the bottom. You climb up the right flank of the ridge for about 1.5k with gorse on either side of you. About 1/4 of the way up you go around a sharp left-hand bend where you can see all the way up to the old cattle yards at the half way point. The bottom third is probably the steepest but usually has the least loose gravel. There are several large water-bars to roll through. After this the gradient slowly levels off as you approach the cattle yards. The next kilometre rolls up then down as you traverse across to the next part of the climb. As you come around a large right-hand bend with the bank on your right, there is a track off to your left that goes to Spooky Gully (marked with a new signage). Stay on the main trail. Once through the saddle the climb starts again sidling to the right with more gorse. There are a few tough left-hand corners here with plenty of loose gravel which can be a real challenge to ride. There is a major intersection to Red Rocks about 400m from the top (you can see the top for the last 3rd of the ride). The turn-off is well marked and the Tip Track continues on to the right. This last section is not quite so steep as the track takes you up to a metal pole-gate at the top. If the northerly is really blowing and you want a sit down then you can usually find some shelter just below the sealed road where the Tip Track joins. Views to the South Island are best from the summit about 300m further up the sealed road.

Coming down. This is a very fast descent. Going down you really don't notice the loose gravel patches and the main difficulty is keeping your speed down so you can make the bends comfortably. Beware the water-bars on the bottom third which can be quite deep and rutty after big rain. There are also some clay patches here which can be greasy if it has been wet.

Getting there

The bottom of the Tip Track starts at the big metal gates immediately to the left of the road to the rubbish dump off Happy Valley road (about 5km south of Brooklyn). There is signage at the gate for Te Kopuhou Reserve, and another on the gate saying "Emergency Vehicle Access".

The top can be reached by continuing on up the sealed road from the Brooklyn wind turbine. The track starts on the left, just up from the orange concrete-block castle - beware of the dragons (dogs). Or if you are coming from the summit of Hawkins Hill it is about 300m down from the "golf ball" (Airways Corporation aircraft monitoring station) on the outside of a right-hand bend. If you pass the castle you have gone too far.

Length

3.72km

Conditions

4wd

Altitude

gain432m loss16m begin34m end450m (when going up)

Last modified

16 Nov 2014 by Edmonds

Created by

Jonny

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