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
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.