NELSON TRAILS

Centre of New Zealand

The Centre of New Zealand is located atop Botanical Hill (147 m), on the eastern edge of Nelson city centre. A network of tracks covers the hill and gives access to Sir Stanley Whitehead Park, and Branford Park in the Maitai Valley. The summit offers fantastic views over central Nelson and Tasman Bay.

Details
Length2.5 km return
Time Required30-45 min return
Trail TypeWalking track
Physical DifficultyEasy   
UsesWalking and running
Start Elevation5 m
Max Elevation147 m
Dog AccessDogs are permitted


If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 

Connections

Sir Stanley Whitehead Park

  Walking and trail running




Access

  5 min from anywhere in central Nelson

 

Botanical Hill is immediately east of the city centre. The main access points are Botanic Sports Field and Branford Park. There is plenty of parking around the edge of Botanic Sports Field, on both Milton Street and Hardy Street East. To access the hill from Maitai Valley, there are two car parks in Branford Park.

Description




There are multiple ways to reach the summit as there are many links between the tracks (see map). The well-graded main track begins at the base of Botanical Hill on the far side of Botanics Sports Field (the site of New Zealand’s first ever rugby game in 1888) and zig-zags up the western aspect of the hill for 1 km to the summit. Follow the signposts on the way up to stay on the main track. The hillside is covered in a mixture of exotic and native vegetation, which offer pleasant shade on warm days.

 

Near the top of the hill there is a junction where two tracks split off the main track; one heads north into Sir Stanley Whitehead Park (linking to Walter’s Bluff and Bayview) and the other heads east, dropping down to Branford Park (via East Ridge Track). The summit is a few hundreds metres further, where a monument marks the surveyed trig point and a lookout platform provides great views across the city, Tasman Bay, and inland up the Maitai Valley.

 

On the return leg you can head back the way you came, or use one of the several other tracks. For a longer loop, descend East Ridge Track to Branford Park, and follow Maitai River Walkway downstream to Hardy St pedestrian bridge.

 

Note that Botanical Hill is not the actual ‘centre’ of New Zealand. Given its prominence and location next to the city centre, the top of the hill was used as an starting point for trigonometrical surveys by Chief Surveyor of Nelson, John Spence Browning in the 1870s. The true geographical centre of New Zealand lies in the Golden Downs Forest, a few kilometres south of Kohatu.

Centre of New Zealand

The Centre of New Zealand is located atop Botanical Hill (147 m), on the eastern edge of Nelson city centre. A network of tracks covers the hill and gives access to Sir Stanley Whitehead Park, and Branford Park in the Maitai Valley. The summit offers fantastic views over central Nelson and Tasman Bay.

Details
Length2.5 km return
Time Required30-45 min return
Trail TypeWalking track/td>
Physical DifficultyEasy   
UsesWalking and running
DirectionReturn (up and down)
Start Elevation5 m
Max Elevation147 m
Dog AccessDogs are permitted


If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 

Access

  5 min from anywhere in central Nelson

 

Botanical Hill is immediately east of the city centre. The main access points are Botanic Sports Field and Branford Park. There is plenty of parking around the edge of Botanic Sports Field, on both Milton Street and Hardy Street East. To access the hill from Maitai Valley, there are two car parks in Branford Park.




 

Description

There are multiple ways to reach the summit as there are many links between the tracks (see map). The well-graded main track begins at the base of Botanical Hill on the far side of Botanics Sports Field (the site of New Zealand’s first ever rugby game in 1888) and zig-zags up the western aspect of the hill for 1 km to the summit. Follow the signposts on the way up to stay on the main track. The hillside is covered in a mixture of exotic and native vegetation, which offer pleasant shade on warm days.

 

Near the top of the hill there is a junction where two tracks split off the main track; one heads north into Sir Stanley Whitehead Park (linking to Walter’s Bluff and Bayview) and the other heads east, dropping down to Branford Park (via East Ridge Track). The summit is a few hundreds metres further, where a monument marks the surveyed trig point and a lookout platform provides great views across the city, Tasman Bay, and inland up the Maitai Valley.

 

On the return leg you can head back the way you came, or use one of the several other tracks. For a longer loop, descend East Ridge Track to Branford Park, and follow Maitai River Walkway downstream to Hardy St pedestrian bridge.

 

Note that Botanical Hill is not the actual ‘centre’ of New Zealand. Given its prominence and location next to the city centre, the top of the hill was used as an starting point for trigonometrical surveys by Chief Surveyor of Nelson, John Spence Browning in the 1870s. The true geographical centre of New Zealand lies in the Golden Downs Forest, a few kilometres south of Kohatu.




 

Connections

Sir Stanley Whitehead Park

Walking and trail running

Updated 18 February 2019