Location: Between Worser Bay and Breaker Bay on the Miramar Peninsula at the entrance to Wellington Harbour.
How to get there: Seatoun or Breaker Bay. No 11 bus.
Entrance and exit points: Churchill Park, Pass of Branda and Breaker Bay.
Brief description: Tracks to the ridge on this prominent, undeveloped steep hillside can be accessed from the middle of Breaker Bay Beach, the Pass of Branda or Churchill Park.
A loop walk can be made by walking along the beach to the harbour entrance, following the coastal track and returning via the ridge.
A coastal track leads to the Wahine Memorial at Churchill Park, while the Eastern Walkway begins at the Pass of Branda.
Parking: Ample parking at Breaker Bay and Churchill Park.
Accessibility: Steep slopes on ridge.
Dogs: Dogs must be kept on a leash.
Mountain biking: Not permitted.
Features: The excellent views of the harbour from the ridge include:
- Barrett Reef, which the interisland ferry Wahine struck in 1968
- Steeple Rock (Te Aroaro-o-Kupe), where the Wahine finally capsized.
Te Aroaro-o-Kupe (‘the presence of Kupe’) is named after the legendary explorer Kupe, who visited the harbour.
You can also explore the gun emplacements at the military reserve Fort Dorset which were installed to protect the entrance to the harbour. The fort was used by the Defence Force from 1905, expanded in the 1930s to prepare for WWII and remained operational until 1957. See the location of military structures and the year they were built: Map of Oruaiti Reserve Military Structures (584KB PDF)
History: The top of the ridge was the site of Oruaiti Pā, thought to have been built by Rangitane and later taken over by other tribes.
This reserve was formerly known as Point Dorset Recreation Reserve and was part of Fort Dorset until 1991. Old fortifications can be found on the ridge near the Pass of Branda and on the coast inside the harbour entrance.
Work to improve the area was funded by a Charles Plimmer Bequest grant. The work included upgrading the main walkway and other tracks to improve access to the military structures; a waka sculpture marking the site of the former Ōruaiti Pā; more than 5,000 plants; new signs to tell the history of the reserve; and landscaping the four entrance ways.
The reserve is owned by the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust and administered by Wellington City Council.