For a scenic off-road run with options for various lengths, we love the Hutt River Trail system. This easy multi-use path runs for 29 km along both sides of the length of the Hutt River, from Petone in Lower Hutt, north to Te Marua in Upper Hutt. Some sections paved, others gravel. The trail runs on the east bank for the whole length, and on the west bank between Petone and Belmont Park. There are nine bridges along the trail which offer many opportunities for short loops. Here are a few recommended sections:
Lower Hutt to Avalon Park Bridge Loop. This is a great 8 km loop between Lower Hutt and Avalon Park. Use Harcourt Werry Dr. to connect to the Hutt River Trail and follow the path for about 4 km to the Ewen Bridge. Cross over the river and loop back on the West side of the river. When you reach Kennedy Good Bridge, cross to return to the start. Lower Hutt is site of a Parkrun.
Upper Hutt: 10.5 km out and back from Harcourt Park to Moonshine Park. This section features two sites where The Lord of the Rings was filmed. Beginning in Harcourt Park, you will find the site of Isengard, the ancient Gondorian fortress at the southern end of the Misty Mountains, facing Rohan. As you continue along the river, you will find the site for The Great River Anduin between Moonshine and Totara Park.