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
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.