Te Kopahou and Brooklyn wind turbine

A varied and remote landscape that extends from the hill tops of Brooklyn wind turbine, Hawkins Hill and Te Kopahou, down to the south coast beaches.

View of steep hill going straight down into sea at Te Kopahau Reserve.

Location: Extends from the hill tops of Brooklyn wind turbine, Hawkins Hill and Te Kopahou down to the south coast beaches.

Entrance and exit points: Brooklyn wind turbine, Happy Valley Road and the Te Kopahou Visitor Centre at the end of Owhiro Bay Parade.

Brief description: Te Kopahou is a great place to experience a sense of remoteness in a wild, varied landscape close to the city. The Brooklyn wind turbine, with its drive-on access along Hawkins Hill Road, is an easily reached viewpoint overlooking the city and region.

Walkways and mountain biking tracks provide challenging access to exposed ridgelines, bush-clad gullies and the rugged coast. The coast is accessible by 4WD (except Sundays) with stunning views to the South Island on a clear day. Walking access continues around the coast to a large dune system that is the site of ecological restoration work.

At 495 metres altitude, Hawkins Hill, with its distinctive white radar dome (radome), is the highest point in the southern part of the Outer Green Belt reserves. Next north along the ridgeline is the Brooklyn wind turbine, with connecting tracks to Polhill, Zealandia and Wrights Hill. To the south, the ridgeline continues to Te Kopahou (485 metres) before dropping steeply down to the south coast at Red Rocks.

Parking: Car parks at the Brooklyn wind turbine, and Owhiro Bay Parade.

Accessibility: Well-formed tracks are steep in places. The coastal walk along the unformed road is level, but the surface is sometimes uneven. An easy walk from the wind turbine to Hawkins Hill is on a sealed road with a gentle gradient. The wind turbine has wheelchair access.

Dogs: Dogs must be kept on a leash.

Horses: People can ride their horses on trails in Te Kopahou and along the coastal road. To arrange access please contact our park ranger team, email ParkRanger@wcc.govt.nz

Mountain biking: The trails here are amazing and some of the most scenic in the city. Various loop routes extend from Hawkins Hill via such tracks as the Tip Track from Happy Valley Road, and the Red Rocks and Ribs Tracks to the coast, or you can just ride along the coast for a more peaceful trip. Check out the options at Trail Forks.

Features: The area is home to threatened native plants such as Muehlenbeckia astonii (shrubby tororaro), speargrass and Brachyglottis lagopus (a yellow daisy-headed herb). It is also contains the rare speargrass weevil, lizards and birdlife.

On the ridgeline the white radome houses the airport’s radar. A bit further north, there is interpretation about wind power at the Brooklyn wind turbine (the site of the first turbine in New Zealand) with views of distant wind farms to the west. The Taputeranga Marine Sanctuary is immediately offshore along the south coast. A popular destination along the coastal walk is Red Rocks and Devils Gate seal haul-out area. 

History: Many areas along the coast, and in the hills above, were old Māori settlement sites. There are Historic Reserves at Rimurapa / Sinclair Head and Pari-whero (Red Rocks). Points of interest include the World War II observation post bunkers on Rimurapa / Sinclair Head, historic baches on the coast, the former Owhiro Bay Quarry, and other World War II military structures on the ridgetop near the wind turbine.