Wellington has some interesting geography, and due to random earthquake events it keeps on changing. Most of its flat bits were under the sea when it was first settled. The rest is hilly, which means tunnels. They vary in how pleasant the ride through them is.
Like the Terrace Tunnel (pictured above), the Hataitai Bus Tunnel at the top of Pirie St, is not open to cyclists, only to the trolley buses and to drunk people who want to get run over. It’s not much of a pity as the ride around Oriental Bay to Hataitai is much more pleasant. The ride down Pirie Street however is exhilirating in a big hill and a busy intersection at the bottom kind of way. ‘ere ’tis: (rating off-limits)
Just a little bit south is the Mount Victoria Tunnel, which is god-awful to ride through. The bike lane is on the eastern side of the tunnel, which means it’s easier to go through heading south, and impossible to cross the road onto if riding from the South, with a line of aggressive traffic. There isn’t much space for cyclists and pedestrians to share, and all those idiot motorists beeping their horns just adds to the pleasure. Mostly though the air quality is abysmal, so I pray to Apsu that the Wellington City Council puts up a perspex screen separating the bikes and pedestrians from the evil traffic below. There’s always talk of duplicating the tunnel, so maybe some thought will be put into the design for cyclists. Maybe. ‘ere ’tis: (rating: safe, apart from the approaches which aren’t, awful)
Under the southern extension of the airport runway at Moa Point, the new tunnel has verges for cycling, and doesn’t have too much traffic. The air quality is good, and the lighting is good. Rating okey dokeys.
And under the runway further north is the pedestrian, cyclist shared tunnel. No traffic, and can be ridden at speed. Rating good.
The Seatoun Tunnel is a pleasant ride through, without too much traffic. Rating Good:
The Northland Tunnel is little trafficked, and is a short, quick ride through. It is one of the the old tram tunnels (like Seatoun, the Hataitai Bus tunnel and Kelburn) Rating good:
and the last of these tunnel photos is the Kelburn tunnel. It is a bit more trafficked than the others (Mount Victoria excepted), and sometimes the traffic won’t give a cyclist enough room, but it should be right to ride. Rating : kind of OK.
There are other tunnels in the Wellington Region, like the train tunnels on the Main North Island Trunk Line and the Johnsonville Line, and the big one under the Rimutakas on the Wairarapa Line, and then there are the 6 tunnels on the old Rimutaka Incline, now part of the rail trail, which can be ridden through, but that’s another post another time.
The tunnels pictured above can be ridden through (excepting the Hataitai Bus Tunnel) in a relatively short ride from Seatoun to Northland. Maybe an hour and a half. None of them are on the National Cycleway, but if you were thinking of starting the National Cycleway from Seatoun, and you were in the Wellington CBD, then ride up Glenmore Road under the Kelburn Viaduct and through the Kelburn Tunnel, then upto the Northland Tunnel, do a Uie back through the tunnel, then ride down to the Aro Valley, and take a detour up Pirie Street, then go through Mount Victoria, to Kilbirnie, where you could go to Lyall Bay, under Moa Point, then through the airport, and back under the runway to Rongotai, then head along the Evans Bay Pde along the waterfront, through Miramar and through the Seatoun Tunnel.