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Makara is a small farming/lifestyle area only twenty minutes from the centre of Wellington. To get there, drive from Wellington through Karori (5-10 minutes from City) until you reach Makara Hill (which is about 2 and a half km long), and then travel through winding countryside to a great stony beach, with the Coastal Walkway taking you up to the Gun Emplacements (built for protection during the Second World War) and wonderful views of Cook Strait, the South Island, Kapiti and Mana Islands. Your journey can then continue in a loop back to Wellington through Ohariu Valley and Johnsonville. The whole journey is approx. 40 km round trip.
The popular Makara Beach is a great place to be in a southerly wind when other Wellington Beaches are being battered. It is also fun to be there when there is a raging northerly coming into the beach. Makara Cafe (telephone 04 476 0313) is open from Thursdays to Sundays. There is a bed and breakfast/homestay, see www.makarabandb.co.nz (telephone 04 476 8176).
Makara has two historical churches, St Matthias (Anglican built 1920), and St Patrick's (formerly Catholic, now non denominational built 1873), both are usually open in the weekends for visitors. The Makara Community Hall is available for hire for functions and events. (Telephone 04 476 8176 or 04 476 8903) There are also two golf clubs, the 9 hole Makara Golf Course, and the 18 hole Karori Golf Course, both open to visitors. There is also the Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park, www.makarapeak.org bikes are available for hire at Mud Cycles on Karori Road (telephone 04 476 4961). The Makara Skyline Walkway is a recent addition to Wellington Walks, taking you from the top of Makara Hill along to Johnsonville.
Recently opened is the West Wind Recreation Area where you can get a close look at the Makara wind turbines and walk to the old gun emplacements overlooking Cook Strait, with views to the South Island, as well as Mana and Kapiti Islands, and it's fun to look around.