Heaphy Track to Big Rock Beach & Swan Burn, Kahurangi National Park, West Coast NZ

A very attractive coastal section of the multi-day Heaphy Track, taking in many highlights of West Coast scenery in just half a day.

I was keen to see some quintessential West Coast scenery when we visited the Coast’s northernmost town of Karamea for the first time. A four kilometre section of the multiday Heaphy Track offers just that: a selection of nikau palm lined beaches, lush rainforest and river scenery. The brochures suggest the hour long walk to Scotts Beach as a short day-walk, but continuing on to Big Rock Beach and Swanburn Bridge provides better scenery for not much more effort. I was especially impressed with the nikau palms besides Big Rock Beach, and dense bush lining the Swan Burn (River). Continue reading “Heaphy Track to Big Rock Beach & Swan Burn, Kahurangi National Park, West Coast NZ”

Crater Rim Track – Sign of the Bellbird to Coopers Knob, Port Hills, Christchurch NZ

A pleasant section of the Crater Rim Track in the Port Hills from Sign of the Bellbird to Coopers Knob (573m) with views much of the way.

I thought about doing this pleasant section of the Crater Rim Track in the Port Hills above Christchurch when we visited nearby Gibraltar Rock. Coopers Knob (573m) is the highest point in the Port Hills and provides excellent views over Lyttelton Harbour to the north-east. Starting at historic Sign of the Bellbird, there are patches of native bush along the way, as well as other worthy viewpoints.

Continue reading “Crater Rim Track – Sign of the Bellbird to Coopers Knob, Port Hills, Christchurch NZ”

Gibraltar Rock and Omahu Bush, Port Hills, Christchurch NZ

A pleasant circuit walk in Omahu Bush, stopping at Gibraltar Rock for 360 degree views over the Port Hills and Canterbury Plains.

The short walk from Summit Road to the top of Gibraltar Rock (502m) is a good leg stretcher if you are in that part of the Port Hills. For a leisurely 2-2.5 hour walk, continue on into Omahu Bush and do a circuit, dropping down into the valley to visit a small waterfall, then climb back out to the start. Depending on the route you take you will walk through sections of native bush, and in areas of regenerating bush with gorse. There are good views from a few points, including of course the summit of Gibraltar Rock. Continue reading “Gibraltar Rock and Omahu Bush, Port Hills, Christchurch NZ”

Christchurch Adventure Park to Gondola, Port Hills, Canterbury NZ

A short climb through Christchurch Adventure Park gets you views of Lyttelton Harbour & the Canterbury Plains. Enjoy the free gondola ride down.

A short climb up through Christchurch Adventure Park to views over the Canterbury Plains and Lyttelton Harbour. You can return the way you came but we descended on the gondola, which is free in that direction. Mostly pines trees and gorse to look at, but not a bad way to stretch the legs and the views form up top are good. Continue reading “Christchurch Adventure Park to Gondola, Port Hills, Canterbury NZ”

Bush Creek Track, Arrowtown NZ

A very pleasant and easy walk at Arrowtown up the Bush Creek Track through a gorge as far as a saddle, where there are views over the Wakatipu Basin.

I’d done part of the Bush Creek Track a few months earlier on a loop taking in Brow Peak, and quite liked that section. So on a clear Autumn day we returned to do the whole thing, and I was pleasantly surprised. The walk offers a wide variety of native and non-native vegetation along the pleasant Bush Creek, which eventually passes through a gorge on its way to a saddle, where there are good views over the Wakatipu Basin. I liked the open aspect of the upper sections, and the rugged cliffs lining the gorge. There are also nice stands of beech forest and some autumn colours early on in the walk courtesy of introduced trees. Continue reading “Bush Creek Track, Arrowtown NZ”

Deep Gully-Eastern Hills Loop, Long Gully Conservation Area, Wanaka NZ

A fairly plain walk into the Long Gully Conservation Area for views over Central Otago & out towards the distant Southern Alps.

The Deep Gully-Eastern Hills Loop is a reasonable half-day filler, although nothing to0 spectacular, at least in summer when we did it. There were some nice wildflowers out (albeit non-native) and there are decent views in all directions over Central Otago including the Upper Clutha Valley, and out towards the Southern Alps. Continue reading “Deep Gully-Eastern Hills Loop, Long Gully Conservation Area, Wanaka NZ”

Ryton Track to Lakes Ida & Catherine, Canterbury NZ

A fairly easygoing walk on the Ryton Track though impressive Canterbury High Country mountain scenery, visiting Lakes Ida & Catherine.

The Ryton Track takes you through impressive mountain scenery to Lake Ida, and then Lake Catherine.  Both are nice enough – Lake Ida is in the nicer setting – but neither particularly photogenic. There are also Lakes Selfe and Evelyn at the start which are nice. For me though the highlight was the lumpy topography including scree covered mountains in the Craigieburn Range. It’s a fairly flat walk and not too long, so for relatively little effort you can get a good sample of the Canterbury High Country. Continue reading “Ryton Track to Lakes Ida & Catherine, Canterbury NZ”

Kaikoura Coast Track, Canterbury NZ

The Kaikoura Coast Track is a two day private walk taking in spectacular coastal scenery & patches of native bush. Accommodation is provided.

The Kaikoura Coast Track was my first time doing a private walk, (one that you pay to do), and also my first overnighter. It’s really a combination of two day walks, with the organisers taking your stuff between ‘bach’ style accommodation – so it’s a pretty cruisy way to walk. The scenery on the first day included dark volcanic sands, sea cliffs and patches of native bush. The second day starts inland, and you walk over Skull Peak (489m) with 360 degree views over the area and more native bush as you walk back to the coast. (These views were unfortunately clouded in on the day we did it, so no pics). There’s also quite a bit of wildlife around: lots of seals, but you can sometimes see dolphins and whales. The less attractive sections include sometimes smelly paddocks and a couple of stretches of road, but all in all a nice and unique walking experience. Continue reading “Kaikoura Coast Track, Canterbury NZ”

Rakaia Gorge Walkway, Canterbury NZ

An easygoing walk along the Rakaia River as it cuts its way through the Rakaia Gorge, with views of the Mt Hutt Range to the west.

The Rakaia Gorge Walkway is an easygoing walk along a scenic section of the Rakaia River, with views of the river from various spots, and out over the Mt Hutt Range. It is suitable for families and those without tramping experience, although it can get a bit muddy. On a clear day the Rakaia River is a pleasing turquoise colour, and there are patches of native bush with exotics along the way. Continue reading “Rakaia Gorge Walkway, Canterbury NZ”

Mt Vernon Park Circuit, Christchurch NZ

Pictures from a couple of circuit walks we did in Mt Vernon Park in Christchurch’s Port Hills. Pleasant walking with views over the city.

There are a variety of tracks available in Mt Vernon Park, passing through sections of native bush, paddocks and tussock. As you climb higher towards Mt Vernon itself there are increasingly good views over Christchurch and of the lumpy crater rim from on the tops. Like many walks in the Port Hills it is far from a wilderness experience, but I was pleasantly surprised how remote some sections felt given you start in the suburbs of Christchurch. Continue reading “Mt Vernon Park Circuit, Christchurch NZ”