If you head out west towards the edge of Cook Strait and the top of the South Island, you will eventually hit Makara Beach.
Makara Beach can be windy, even for Wellington!
It’s a windy little place, known for its stony beaches, wind turbine and loop track leading around the coast.
It’s a sturdy footwear and packed lunch mission, rather than bikinis, booze and full moon dancing, but on a good day the views are stunning and it can feel like you’re the only person left on earth.
The walkway has a 6-kilometre loop that starts from Makara Beach and heads up to the wind turbines and back down to the coastline, although there are other routes you can take – another path heads inland to the old gun placements from World War II.
The wind farm has 62 wind turbines which generate enough electricity each year for about 62,000 average New Zealand homes. There is one turbine that the public can access – it’s the ‘People’s Turbine’ and in the summer there can be quite a crowd paying their respects.
There are gentler track options for older and younger visitors and plenty of places to explore on the beach that don’t require hiking poles. There is also the Makara beach cafe which is open on the weekend should the urge for a hot chocolate become overwhelming.
If you have a spare 12 hours and are feeling particularly Bear Grylls, you could even walk/dive/swim (depending on the tide) the entire 36km around the coast and end up at the south coast’s Red Rocks carpark.
We are of course not recommending this or setting a challenge – but do let us know if you manage it!