North Face


North Face


Makara Peak, Wellington, New Zealand


New track down from the summit of Makara Peak.
For more information, see the North Face Blog.




Bike and Foot


The North Face track is an intermediate route down from the summit of Makara Peak, providing an alternative to the road (Snake Charmer) and the more difficult Ridgeline track.

By design this is a busy track, with lots of undulations, swerves, wriggles, grade reversals, corners, and 14 switchbacks (including six in a funnel-shaped valley). All of these features have been carefully constructed to give the track great flow. Straight lines are antithetical.

The track traverses the northeast face of Makara Peak, which is remarkably sheltered from the weather. Currently almost all of the area is covered in dense gorse and barberry, interspersed with occasional natives. The track was designed to carefully avoid as many of the existing natives as possible, while opening up a large tract of scrub land that was previously inaccessible. This access will enable planting of more native flora and provide opportunities for additional possum bait lines.

With an end-to-end altitude drop of 105m, the average gradient is 6.5%. The maximum sustained gradient is 10%, though occasional short sections are steeper.

For most of its length this track runs parallel to Ridgeline. At a couple of points the two tracks are within a few metres of each other, making possible connections between them.

Even before construction started, plans were hatched to extend both ends of this track, to provide better integration with adjacent tracks. Specifically:

200m long connection from part way down Zac's Track to the top of North Face. This will also provide access to the top of Trickle Falls and T3.

JFK, a 650m continuation from the bottom of North Face through a grassy clearing then joining Smokin'.

Smokin', a 370m long connection from JFK to near the picnic tables on Ridgeline Extension.

Getting there

Top is just below the summit of Makara Peak, on Snake Charmer, next to the top of Trickle Falls and T3.

Bottom is on the Allington Connector, just over a 20m hill from the intersection of Ridgeline and Ridgeline Extension.

Other notes

This track is one-way only, down from the summit (ie. northwest to southeast).

Exploration of the area began in October 2008, with an initial look to see if it would be possible to build this track. Piloting began in earnest in March 2009, and the WCC gave approval to build the track after doing a walk-through of the pilot track on 25 September 2009.

Construction of the track was remarkably fast. With 35 work parties in just over four months, more than 1500 person-hours of volunteer work went into building this track. The entire length became rideable from the first week of March 2010. Since then, another 1000 person-hours have been invested in making the track even better: improving drainage, graveling the top section (which was initially very muddy), carving sweeping bermed switchbacks, and armouring the track surface.




Single track

Last modified

9 Feb 2011 by its that guy

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