“The stairway to heaven” – the Westcliff Stairs

I am on a mission to become a stronger runner and so I have decided to start fitting in some Westcliff stairs sessions into my training. The Westcliff stairs are located in the beautiful, old suburb of Westcliff just off Wexford Road close to the intersection of Crescent Drive. They are known as the “stairway to heaven” but I would probably call them the “stairway of blood, sweat and almost tears.” The stairs consist of 210 stone steps which are unevenly spaced making them that much more challenging.

To get to the stairs I parked at the Zoo Lake parking lot just outside Moyo restaurant; however you can park at the entrance to the stairs on the street. From Zoo Lake it is about a 2km run to the entrance of the Westcliff stairs, which is a perfect warm up especially as it is basically uphill all the way.

Map of my route to the Westcliff stairs from Zoo Lake
Map of my route to the Westcliff stairs from Zoo Lake

As I am a novice at running the Westcliff Stairs my goal is to complete 5 sets of stairs running the whole time (even if it is super slow) and aim to get to 10 sets in a month’s time. Most people run or hike up the stairs and descend the way they came up. To assist with recovery and to get some more mileage on the legs I opted to rather run the loop from the top of the stairs down Woolston Road to Westcliff Drive and back to Wexford Road at the entrance of the stairs. In total this loop is approx. 1.2km.

Although it is a really tough session, the Westcliff stairs are a great way to build strength in the legs especially for trail running. And to make it all worthwhile, the view from the top of the stairs is really beautiful especially when the Jacaranda’s are out in full bloom.


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