Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury NZ

Great views of volcanic topography on this walk up through farmland to Mt Herbert (919m), the highest point on the Banks Peninsula.

Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula

Te Ahu Patiki / Mt Herbert (919m) is the highest point on the Banks Peninsula. Although not that high, the views from on the way up and near the summit are very good, and you can climb it from sea level if you start to the north at Diamond Harbour. The walking experience is just mediocre, being mostly through slightly pooey farmland, but it’s not a hard walk, and I think worth it for the views. Those views include Mt Bradley (a good alternative walk from Gebbies Pass), Mt Evans, plus Lyttelton Harbour and the surrounding crater rim.

There were also stands of eucalypts and even a tea tree, so I felt quite nostalgic for the “West Island” on this walk. The forested gully at the start is hardly pristine wilderness, but nevertheless offers a bit of variety early on.

The drive in from Christchurch is quite nice, either via Lyttelton, Dwyers Pass, or going around the south of the Port Hills. Track notes at the end.

Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour: The Scenery

Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula
Once you leave Stoddart Point the track very briefly drops down to the water, so you have definitely climbed this mountain from the bottom!
Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula
There were bushy sections overridden with brambles and all sorts.
Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula
A stand of eucalypts. On the way back I got a strong whiff of eucalyptus oil: it was very nostalgic.
Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula
Climbing up into farmland.
Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula
Lyttelton Harbour
Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula
Mt Evans to the right.
A panorama north. Lyttelton Harbour left and Mt Evans to the right.
Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula
Port Levy, and on the right in the mid-ground, what I think is Lions Head.
Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula
Mt Bradley to the left.
Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula
Lyttelton Harbour
Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula
The view east from the summit. The best views of the area were from near the summit, not on it.
Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula
Mt Bradley and Lyttelton Harbour.
Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula
A hazy panorama of Lyttelton Harbour, the form of the crater rim very clear from this angle.
Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula
Mt Evans, Purau Bay and Lyttelton Harbour.
Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula
Sophia down there.
Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula
The sheep were particularly dozy I thought. Mt Evans at the back.
Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula
I thought this tree also looked rather Australian, and after giving the leaves a rub and sniff I do believe it was a tea tree. Ah, the smells of home!
Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula
A very Kiwi scene at the bar and cafe on Stoddart Point.

Track Notes

Mt Herbert from Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula
On a marked route/track the whole way. Pretty exposed to the sun and wind for all but the first section.

The marked route is a straightforward and fairly steady climb to the summit. If you want to sit somewhere nice with a toilet then walk the extra 10 or so minutes to the Mt Herbert Shelter.

You can start from a few points and take various route up, but we parked near the bar and eatery at Stoddart Point. There are also car parking spots closer to the ferry, and in the surrounding streets. You walk from sea level with a bit of up and down at the start, so close to 950m of ascent and descent. More information on the DOC website.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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