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Let's Live In Karori

Wellington's largest suburb with homes for all budgets

Looking over Karori East
Karori East suburban view

Source: Wikipedia Commons: Vardion, CC BY-SA 4.0


Nestled in a valley above the city, Karori is Wellington’s largest suburb, and perhaps even New Zealand's, depending on which source you quote. Karori residents are typically families, couples planning on starting a family, or people who have lived in the area a long time and are well connected to the suburb.

Karori has a huge variety of housing styles and prices - from smaller flats to grand homes - and everything in between. Karori is conveniently self-contained with enough services for day-to-day shopping, excellent schools, and superb recreation opportunities.

On the flip side, there's often talk about the 'one-road-in-and-out', causing congestion at peak times. Being an elevated valley, temperatures can be a bit more extreme than in other Wellington areas and a mist can settle in the lower lying parts of the suburb.


Map showing where Karori is located in Wellington

Source: Wellington City Council - Suburb and Ward Boundaries


Families and those with a community focus.


Karori has a population of over 15,000, with a wide range of ages, occupations, and income levels. Statistics NZ divides Karori into four parts - North, South, East, West, and Karori Park.

Map showing the statistical neighbourhoods of Karori

Source: Statistics New Zealand

The eastern end - that's the end closer to the city - is usually preferred and more expensive as it’s closer to amenities and has a large number of attractive, character homes on large sites. Here the locals are likely to be well established families or retirees, occupying renovated villas and bungalows.

The western end of Karori, which includes Karori Park, contains more affordable housing from a wide variety of eras and the demographic tends to be younger families, couples, singles, and also flat sharing arrangements.

The middle of Karori, around the main shopping area, tends to contain a mix of ages and income levels although with some leaning toward an older population due to the ease of access to the main shopping amenities.


Because Karori is so big and developed over a long period, there is a house style, size, and price for almost everyone. Karori is made up mostly of detached houses, but there are also a variety of semi-detached units and flats.

Homes at the city end are likely to be detached villas and bungalows from the early 1900s. These include many grand homes on large sections. The price of these can get a bit eye-watering with the best selling for over $2.5 million.

The western end of Karori has a mix of many housing styles including attractive Art Deco style homes from the 1930s, post-war State Housing, traditional weatherboard 1960s and 1970s homes, and a good sampling of homes built from the 1980s onward. Prices here are more affordable.

Here's a snapshot of images that show the wide variety of housing styles in Karori.

Source: Google StreetView



Karori has three distinct shopping areas, all located along the main road. You’ll encounter the first as you enter the suburb - a small shopping strip set between Standen Street and Nottingham Street. This includes a convenience store, bakery, photographer, and hair salon.

Marsden Village is the second shopping strip and perhaps the most cohesive group (likely because it's the strip closest to the most expensive streets). Here you’ll find cafes, takeaways, a superette, a picture framer, a pharmacy, a bookshop, and a gift/boutique store.

The largest group of shops is set in central Karori. This group includes a small undercover shopping mall where you'll find two supermarkets, a pharmacy, a bookshop, a dry cleaner, and hairdressers. The library (with café) is set directly opposite the mall.

There are a few neighbourhood stores dotted about Karori, with the most popular being the popular Gipps Street butcher and the adjoining Gipps Street delicatessen.


Karori Normal School is one of New Zealand’s oldest primary schools, established in 1857. Karori West Normal School is situated at the western end of the suburb. St Teresa’s is a private Catholic primary school set just west of the main shopping area. The only school offering secondary education in Karori is the private girl's school, Samuel Marsden Collegiate (offering both primary and secondary education). Other secondary school options necessitate traveling into Wellington, a journey undertaken by many secondary students each school day.


Karori is blessed with an abundance of leisure activities. At the southern end of the suburb, Karori Park hosts many sports events including cricket and soccer matches. It includes an all-weather running track, changing rooms, play area and café.

Makara Peak Mountain Biking Park is situated at the far western end of Karori. Purpose-built by mountain bike enthusiasts, the park boasts 32 kilometres of biking and walking tracks.

The Skyline Walkway is a 12-kilometre track that traverses the hilltops, all the way to Johnsonville. The track can be accessed from either Karori Park or Makara Road. The Wrights Hill Reserve includes mountain biking and walking tracks, together with the historic Wrights Hill Fortress (with underground tunnels open on public holidays).

And of course there is Zealandia, the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary, which is accessed from Waiapu Road, just as you exit the Karori tunnel.

Looking over Zealandia and the old reservoir

Zealandia -by Judi Lapsley Miller - Own work, CC BY 4.0



Homes over $2 million are not uncommon and the very top-end of the market here can exceed $3 million. There have been four sales of over $2 million in the last 12 months. The bulk of family homes sell in the $1.1 million to $2 million price range. There have been 42 sales in this range, in the last 12 months.

For those who can’t afford such heady prices, there are plenty of alternatives. Homes with less character or in less preferred streets (and normally with less flat land) will generally sell in the $750,000 to $1 million bracket.

If your budget is under $750,000 homes can be found at the western end of Karori and on the elevated northern hillsides. These homes are normally modest dwellings constructed in the period 1970 to 1990. There will also be several attached flats available in this price range.

Price trend graph for Karori property


Priciest Streets

The city-end streets of Homewood Avenue and Hatton Street contain some of the most expensive real estate, including several embassies. Messines Road is sought after for its quality character housing and views over Wellington Harbour.

MORE INFORMATION ON KARORI - This is an information site about Karori / Marsden Village and is designed to bring together business and community interests. - Lots of general information on the suburb, origins, history, etc. -The Karori Normal School website. - The Karori Community Centre. - Facebook page for The Karori Residents Association. - Zealandia, the world's first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary. - A song written about Karori!


An inland valley and well above sea level, Karori has a reputation for its unique weather patterns. You may hear that the suburb can be misty and cold during winter. Mist doesn't tend to hang around for long, given Wellington’s overall windiness. Summer temperatures can be above those experienced in Wellington due to the distance from the sea. Like anywhere in Wellington, the north-facing hillsides and hilltops can be very exposed to wind.



Does living in Karori not appeal to you? Perhaps you'd enjoy a more urban environment, closer to or within Wellington City. Maybe living in Wellington Central would suit your lifestyle better?


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