Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ

The Coal Hill Track takes you up steeply through tussock grass to the summit of Coal Hill (1617m), with excellent views the whole way.

Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area

The Coal Hill Track takes you 1000m pretty much straight up to the summit of Coal Hill (1617m), with great views over the surrounding mountains, the Rangitata River, and east over the Canterbury Plains. These mountains include Mt Taylor to the north, nearby Mt Harper, the Main Divide to the north-west, and nearby Mt Peel to the south. There’s also views towards the open ground around the Ashburton Lakes.

Although much of the walk is on private land, only the first flat bit is through paddocks, then it’s up steeply through tussock and some speargrass to the summit. It’s reasonably attractive walking, although the presence of a high fence the whole way detracts a little from the views. Nevertheless, the views are extensive and the main reason for doing this walk.  Track notes at the end.

Coal Hill Track: The Scenery

Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
Views as we ascended.
Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
Looking east over the Canterbury Plains, with what I think are the Waikari Hills in the mid ground.
Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
Mt Harper to the right.
Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
Looking towards the Main Divide.
Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
You can just see one of the Ashburton Lakes, probably Lake Emma. The Rangitata River in the Foreground.
Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
A panorama north-west.

Views from the summit…

Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
Mt Peel at the back. 
Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
Sophia backed by the Canterbury Plains. The Port Hills are visible in the distance.
Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
Nice topography to the north-west, viewed from the summit of Coal Hill (1617m).
Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
I loved this lumpy topography.
Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
Panorama to the north-west.
Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
The Rangitata Valley winding off the right.

On our way back down…

Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
On our way down.
Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
I’m careful to pick good weather for my walks. This southern end of Canterbury was the pick of the weather that weekend, with cloud and rain forecast for not too distant locales, like these peaks north-west of the Ashburton Lakes.

Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area

Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
A panorama to the north.
Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
Looking north-east over the Moorhouse Range in the mid ground.
Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
Mt Taylor in the background, the highest of the Canterbury Foothills at 2333m.
Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
Another panorama north.
Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
My only portrait oriented shot of the day.


Track Notes

Coal Hill Track, Mt Peel Conservation Area
This is more of a route than a track, but nevertheless easy to follow because you follow a high fence the whole way up. It’s steep in places and sometimes a bit slippery on tussock. About 3 hours up and 2 down.

The Coal Hill Track is more of a route than a track, but nevertheless easy to follow because you follow a high fence the whole way up. It’s steep in places and sometimes a bit slippery on tussock. About 3 hours up and 2 down. There’s more info on other tracks into the conservation area on the DOC website. I’ve walked to nearby Little Mt Peel and Mt Peel on other occasions.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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