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.

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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”

Dog Stream Waterfall Circuit, Hanmer Forest Park, Canterbury NZ

A pleasant circuit walk along the Waterfall Track and Spur Track to the impressive 41m high Dog Stream Waterfall, in Hanmer Forest Park.

This circuit walk to Dog Stream Waterfall along the Waterfall Track and Spur Track is a good half day option if you are staying in nearby Hanmer Springs. The falls are 41m high and on the day we visited there was quite deep snow making it all that bit more scenic. There are a couple of spots with views but this walk is mainly for the waterfall. 

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Mt Norma Route, Lewis Pass, Canterbury NZ

A lesser known walk up Mt Norma (1722m) in the Lewis Pass region, with spectacular views of numerous mountain peaks and glacial valleys.

I came across the Mt Norma Access Track on my way up Nina Valley, and as always got a bit excited at the prospect of another easily accessible mountain summit in the Lewis Pass area. I waited a long time for a good weather window to get up there, but it finally came in the middle of a very snowy winter, so the views of mountain peaks and valleys galore were extra beautiful. With so much snow this turned out to be a bit adventurous also, and probably the closest we’ve come to mountaineering.

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Moorhouse Range Tops, Tenahaun Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ

Excellent views of the Rangitata River and north-east towards Mt Taylor from the top of the Moorhouse Range (point 1153m).

This lesser known walk to the tops of the Moorhouse Range offers really excellent views of the Rangitata River and Harper Range to the west, and many other peaks including Mt Taylor to the north. There’s just 650m ascent and a fairly straightforward scrub bash to get these views, and you’re unlikely to meet anybody else. We did this walk after quite heavy snowfall so the views were extra good. Continue reading “Moorhouse Range Tops, Tenahaun Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ”

Rangitata Gorge on the Tenahaun Track, Canterbury NZ

An unexpectedly attractive walk through the Rangitata Gorge on the Tenahaun Track, to a viewpoint over mountains to the west.

The Tenahaun Track through the Rangitata Gorge was one of many NZ walks to exceed expectations. Starting near an irrigation canal diversion, the track is through private farmland almost the whole way, but the majority of it through the Rangitata Gorge is spectacular. When out of the gorge you can continue in a couple of directions, but we stopped on some rocks for views over plains to the Harper Range and over the Southern Alps. A very satisfying day out. Continue reading “Rangitata Gorge on the Tenahaun Track, Canterbury NZ”

Mt Philistine from Otira Valley, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ

The climb to Mt Phililstine (1967m) provides an adventurous alpine walking experience with fabulous views, including those of nearby Mt Rolleston.

One of the more gnarly walks in Arthur’s Pass National Park, the climb to Mt Philistine (1967m) from Otira Valley provides an adventurous walking experience through rugged terrain. It was our first time to climb a glaciated mountain, and there are excellent of the Rolleston Glacier on the mountain’s southern slopes, of nearby Mt Rolleston (2275m), and of many other peaks and valleys in Arthur’s Pass. Continue reading “Mt Philistine from Otira Valley, Arthur’s Pass National Park NZ”

Black Mountain, Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ

Spectacular views of barren 2500m high peaks, glacial valleys & the Rangitata River, from the summit of Black Mountain (1809m).

I had wanted to visit this remote corner of Canterbury for some time, but I was put off for a while by the long distances required to get to what I thought to be the most interesting peaks. Nevertheless, after studying the topo map in more detail I saw that the views should be good from Black Mountain (1809m), and it certainly delivered. You get really spectacular views of barren 2500m peaks and glacial valleys to the west, and of the Rangitata River to the east, including the confluence with the Havelock and Clyde Rivers. Continue reading “Black Mountain, Te Kahui Kaupeka Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ”

Donald Hill via Turtons Saddle, Canterbury NZ

Walk up a section of the Te Araroa to Turtons Saddle for views of the Rakaia River. Extend your views by climbing nearby Donald Hill (1525m).

This is a pleasant walk along a section of the Te Araroa up to Turtons Saddle, where there are views back towards the Rakaia River. If you have extra energy you can climb Donald Hill (1525m) for extended views over towards Lake Coleridge, and the confluence of the Rakaia and Wilberforce Rivers to the north. The scenery is best once you climb up onto the saddle, with many domed peaks lining a wide open valley. You can continue along the Te Araroa to a couple of huts if you wanted to make this an overnight trip. Continue reading “Donald Hill via Turtons Saddle, Canterbury NZ”