Grampians are a prominent group of hills rising steeply behind Nelson City. Named after the mountain range in Scotland, the tallest point reaches 390 m and is notable for having a TV transmission tower on top. Grampians are dissected by a network of tracks which are popular among walkers and runners given their proximity to the city.


Grampians Walkway: Walking track to Grampians summit, starting at the end of Collingwood Street Grampians Summit Road: 4WD road giving access to Grampians summit from Brook Valley
Ronaki Track: Zig-zag walking track linking Ronaki Tce to Tawa Track and Collingwood Track Mahoe Track: Walking track through native bush, from Market Road to Grampians Saddle
Tawa Track: Walking track that contours the western hillside before climbing to Grampians Saddle Kānuka Track Walking and MTB track that contours southern and eastern aspects of Grampians
Tukaka Track: Walking track linking Tukaka St to Tawa Track Kahikatea Track: Walking track on the southern slopes of Grampians that climbs through native bush to Kānuka Track
Mamuku Track: Walking track between Tawa Track and the lookout Sugar Loaf: Forestry road leading to the top of Sugar Loaf, a hill east of Grampians


Grampians tracks can be accessed from multiple locations around the base of the hills, though the three main access points: Upper Collingwood Street, Market Road in Bishopdale and Blick Terrace in Brook Valley. The only tracks suitable for biking are Grampians Summit Road and Kānuka Track.



Grampians are covered by 161 ha of Nelson City Council reserve land, and contain a diverse range of vegetation, including exotic woodland, pine plantation, regenerating native, and some original native. The mix of vegetation provides an attractive backdrop behind the central city and creates interesting transitions along the tracks, several of which are named after the native tree variety that can be found along their length; Kahikatea, Kānuka, Mahoe, Mamaku and Tawa.

These tracks give access to some of the best vantage points for views over the city, and further out across Tasman Bay. The tracks on Grampians vary in their physical difficulty, from tough, steep ‘grinds’, to relatively gentle strolls. Every track on Grampians includes a certain degree of uphill, though the physical challenge provides part of the appeal. They can be combined in numerous ways to form loops of varying length and difficulty to suit most abilities.

Since 2009, Grampians have been the subject of a successful trapping programme by the community group Birdlife on Grampians. The trapping efforts have reinvigorated birdlife, and the populations of kererū, tui and weka have all increased.


 Further Reading

Birdlife on Grampians

Ron Marris’ volunteer work on Grampians – Nelson Mail article

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