A good climb and spectacular harbour views await you on this 9 km loop from North East Valley to Cleghorn Street Track and Signal Hill. Starting and finishing at the bottom of Calder Ave on North Road gives you the opportunity to explore the North East Valley community garden and grab a coffee at the Steep Cafe before or after the walk.
Wander up the valley toward the Normanby Tavern (an alternative start if you want to finish with a beer!) and start the steady climb up North Road.
Keep going until Cleghorn Street on your right. There’s an AA sign for the walkway pointing up the gravel road, and as you walk up the road you’ll see signs advising that that the track crosses private farm land. The track is restricted to walkers only, and dogs aren’t allowed. You can check out the council website for track closure advice in advance as the track is closed during lambing season. Remember when tracks cross farm land to: leave gates as you find them and take care not to spook stock.
As you reach a junction at the top of Cleghorn Street you’ll catch a glimpse of the harbour ahead. Cleghorn Street Track starts on your right just after this junction, and you’re almost immediately rewarded with harbour views as you turn onto the track!
The track follows orange markers along the hill tops and through farm land. Don’t forget to turn back for the panoramic vista from Mount Cargill and North Road on your left, to Port Chalmers, the harbour and peninsular on your right. I found myself turning around for the views so much on this walk that you might want to consider doing it the opposite way around!
The orange markers generally make the track easy to follow , but occasionally you’ll have to trust that you’re heading in the right direction. It’s good to know that you’re working towards the bunch of trees at the top of McGregor’s Hill.
When you reach the trees you’ll find another orange marker pointing up the hill and tree line. This is great point to stop for a rest on your climb, and soak in the scenery back down the harbour one last time.
Once you’re ready, follow the tree line up the hill to the stile and into a gorse lined corridor. You can see the Signal Hill masts in the background and will emerge out of the gorse to find the communications station to your right.
Pass the communication station and it’s all downhill on a 4WD track back towards Dunedin.
If you fancy a (longer) side trip you could turn left onto Signal Hill Road and up to the lookout and New Zealand Centennial monument. For me that was a walk for a different day, so I turned right down Signal Hill Road and back towards Opoho and the valley.
It’s not long until you’re back in the suburbs. Turn right at McGregor Street where you can take some steps down to Dalmeny Street.
If you’re like me and value your knees, then use the switch backs when they’re on offer! Look out for the community garden sign before Dalmeny Street turns right for the second time. I love the way a walk through the valley and surrounding suburbs can throw up surprising little pathways into semi-secluded areas like this!
The community garden in North East Valley is a great example of these secluded areas, and it’s well worth pausing to enjoy it. You might even decide to get involved in a working bee in the future.
From the garden you can follow the track down to the school field, into Longworth Street, Calder Ave and the end of the walk. Don’t forget to grab a coffee a Steep Cafe if it’s open.