Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay, Canterbury NZ

A varied circuit walk through a nature reserve in the Port Hills near Christchurch. There are good views of Lyttelton Harbour including Governors Bay.

Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay

During our first weeks living in Christchurch we were limited as to where we could hike due to the Covid 19 restrictions. Consequently we did a few walks in the Port Hills and surrounds because they met the definition of ‘local’. This walk was in the Ohinetahi Reserve on the hills above Govenors Bay, only about 20-30 minutes drive from Christchurch. We did a loop around the outer edge of the reserve, through sections of forest but also wide open sections with excellent views of Lyttelton Harbour. We added a short side trip to Cass Peak for lunch.

On the way to the start we stopped at Cashmere Hill Lookout for clear views over Christchurch City, and across the Canterbury Plains all the way to the Southern Alps.

Track notes at the end.

Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
Christchurch City viewed from Cashmere Hill Lookout.
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
The Torlesse Range viewed from Cashmere Hill Lookout.
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
The Mount Hutt Range viewed from Cashmere Hill Lookout.

Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit: The Scenery

Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
Our first look at Lyttelton Harbour from a spot just 20 or 30 metres away from the start of the Trig V Track.
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
These maps were placed at various points within the reserve and were quite handy.
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
We walked as far as the middle peak.
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
Lyttelton Harbour, with Governors Bay below. Lyttelton itself is to the left.
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
Walking through native flax (harakeke). The Southern Alps visible in the distance.
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
There were nice sections of forest on some of the tracks. This bit on the Watlings Track was probably my favourite.
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
Governors Bay
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
Near the junction with the Wai-iti Track here, which we didn’t take, but you could, and loop back around to O’Farrells Track.
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
Looking up at Cass Peak (545m).
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
Lyttelton Harbour
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
A panorama of Lyttelton Harbour.
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
Kennedys Reserve
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
The Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps in the distance.
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
A soccer ball shaped building on Cass Peak.
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
An even wider panorama of Lyttelton Harbour, with Summit Road to the left.
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
Lyttelton Harbour
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
Looking down towards Godley Head. Summit Road to the left.
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
Many layers.

Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay

Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
Mt Ada. You can see Ella’s Track passing under the bluffs near the summit.
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
Peaks on the crater rim.

Track Notes

There are numerous tracks in the Ohinetahi Reserve, and you can choose your own adventure, but I’ve mapped out the route we took below. The side trip to Cass Peak requires a short walk up Summit Road and then a side road to the summit (just a few hundred metres). It made for a good lunch spot. There were nice sections of forest on some of the tracks, including the Watlings Track. There were a few steep and potentially slippery sections, but generally easy enough walking. For more walk ideas in the Port Hills check out the Christchurch City Council website, and bankspeninsulawalks.co.nz.

Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
The dotted line is a rough estimate of our route through the Ohinetahi Reserve: see the track map (below) for our actual route, and alternatives you might like to try.
Ohinetahi Reserve Circuit, Governors Bay
We started at the top and walked clockwise. Our route in blue. The Trig V Track is not labelled on this map (possibly because it is in Hoon Hay Scenic Reserve), but is the left hand option near the start. We returned via the Crater Rim Walkway (the left hand option on the way back).

We started at this car park…

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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