Makara is a small farming/lifestyle area only twenty minutes from the centre of Wellington. It has a long pre-European history and the remnants of fighting pa can be found on ridges above the coast. Early European settlement took place in the 1860’s when gold was discovered, and by the 1880’s there were 24 operative gold mines in Makara.
Historic buildings in the area include St Patrick’s Church (1873) and St Matthias’ Church (1921), both on Makara Road. Remnants of Fort Opau, the telecommunications centre and gun emplacements (established during WWII to command the northern entrance to the Cook Strait and the approach to Marlborough Sound) are sited on Quartz Hill and are now accessible via the Westwind Recreation Area and public walkway.
Makara Beach features the 6km Makara Walkway leads up to the gun emplacements via a steep coastal climb offering spectacular views. The stream estuary is an important native ecosystem and is gradually being restored by the Makaracarpas, a local environmental group. The tiny Makara Foreshore Reserve behind the beach was an area of sand dunes until 1942, when they were bulldozed after fears invading Japanese could hide in them. This destroyed an ecosystem now extremely uncommon in the Wellington region, but rare plants are gradually re-establishing themselves.
The Makara Skyline Walkway is a recent addition to Wellington Walks, taking you from the top of Makara Hill along to Johnsonville.
It goes without saying that Makara provides an abundance of scenic backdrops for your wedding photography – from farmland or cliff top to beach. Below is a list of some of the great local groups and businesses thriving in Makara, including accommodation and photographic options.
Karori Golf Course (18 hole)