Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury NZ

A varied climb to the summit of Mt Bradley (855m) on the Banks Peninsula through all manner of vegetation, including pine plantations, paddocks, fields of tussock, and patches of native bush.

Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula

On our first ever walk in the Port Hills I spied the two highest points on the Banks Peninsula, Mt Herbert (920m) and Mt Bradley (855m). I knew you could climb Mt Herbert on a few different routes, but Mt Bradley looked to be the more interesting mountain, and I researched options to climb this. I settled on walking the Te Ara Pataka/Summit Walkway from Gebbies Pass, past Packhorse Hut, and then taking a short unmarked side track up onto Mt Bradley.  Despite being mostly a modified landscape, the varied vegetation was nevertheless interesting and the views extensive. Low cloud on Mt Herbert added to the experience on the day.

It’s only a roughly 30 minute drive from Christchurch, and the mountain is not all that high, but it nevertheless felt like a proper hike and I quite enjoyed it. The track as far as Packhorse Hut was popular on the day we did it, but the people mostly disappeared after this, and we had Mt Bradley’s summit to ourselves. A good option close to Christchurch to bag a peak and get a decent work-out.

Track notes at the end.

Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass: The Scenery

Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
Pine forests are kind of dead and not native of course, but they do sometimes offer an interesting aesthetic.
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
Early cloud cleared as we ascended.
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
These herbaceous plants dominated in areas where pine trees had been felled.
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
Looking up towards Mt Bradley.
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
Rock formations called ‘Remarkable Dykes’.
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
A sort of grotto at Remarkable Dykes.
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
The historic Packhorse Hut
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
There were patches of native vegetation.
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
Getting higher.
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
Looking down towards the Kaituna Valley.

Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula

Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
The view from Mt Bradley towards a cloudy Mt Herbert (to the right).
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
Mt Herbert in cloud (the summit to the right).
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
Sophia poses in front of cloud on Mt Bradley. This makes us look a lot higher than we were (799m ASL here).
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
Sophia at point 799m (roughly). The upper sections of the Mt Herbert Walkway looked to be in cloud for most of the day.
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
Bluffs on Mt Bradley.
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
The view from the northern end of Mt Bradley’s summit area (point 799).
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
Low cloud made for a few interesting photos.
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
The Kaitorete Spit enclosing Lake Ellesmere (Te Waihora). Leaving the summit here.
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
Native bush on the south face of Mt Bradley.
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
Packhorse Hut backed by the Canterbury Plains, and in the distance, hazy mountains in the Southern Alps.

Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula

Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
Mt Bradley
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
The track passes through areas of felled pine trees.
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
Mt Bradley (855m)
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
Looking towards Burnt Hollow and Head of the Bay.
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
Tall pine trees.
Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
Cows in the late afternoon as we descended back to Gebbies Pass.

Track Notes

Mt Bradley from Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula
Pretty straightforward marked track until the turnoff to Mt Bradley’s summit, which is easy to miss. There’s a small sign not long after you emerge from under some bluffs. The impact tracks on the summit are somewhat indistinct, but easy enough to follow.

The track at first follows a logging road through paddocks, then criss crosses paddocks and pine plantations, until it eventually reaches Packhorse Hut. From there it sets off towards Mt Bradley, soon climbing steeply upwards before flattening on the southern slopes of the mountain. After passing some bluffs overhead there is a side track to Mt Bradley marked by a small sign.

It’s a very steep but short ascent to the summit area, the actual summit a short walk further on, and marked by a cairn of large rocks. There are good views here of Mt Herbert and Mt Herbert Walkway. Just before you get to the summit there is a left turn which takes you north through very spiky gorse to point 799m for good views over Lyttelton Harbour, and of Mt Herbert again. You’ll probably want to wear pants for this bit! 

The route starts at the intersection of Gebbies Pass and Summit Road. It’s a longish walk for the casual hiker, and Packhorse Hut is a reasonable destination if you’d prefer a half day option.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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