A popular walk up Peak Hill (1240m) to excellent 360 degree views over Lake Coleridge, various mountain ranges, and braided river valleys.
I’d read good things about the shortish walk up Peak Hill, and it’s fairly obvious on a map that the views will be good. One blogger claimed that it is the best of Canterbury’s foothills. The walk itself is just okay, with a steep, and on the day we did it, fairly muddy climb up to a ridge, which then leads to the summit. The views gradually improve as you go, and I recommend continuing past the summit to a rocky knoll at 1096m, to get a little more intimate with those peaks across the lake. From the summit of Peak Hill there are 360 degree views of all kinds of topography and landforms. I think I’ve seen better, but my pictures of these views proved popular with family and friends (on Facebook), so I guess the majority has spoken.
A fellow hiking blogger described this walk as the Roys Peak of Canterbury, but less crowded. (Roys Peak is a super popular walk in Wanaka, and has fabulous views but isn’t a great walking experience for the most part). It’s not a bad comparison, but don’t let it put you off if Roys Peak is not your thing. We were there first and had the mountain to ourselves until we started our descent, even after an hour taking pictures!
It did attract a few people who clearly weren’t regular hikers though. In fact, on our way down we came across a small group of Chinese walkers who were wearing their best street clothes, including one lady in a white coat, fetching mustard beret, and carrying a leather handbag! They stopped about half way up the initial climb and came down, possibly put off by how muddy my gaiters were as I passed by. I don’t think they had researched this walk very well. Track notes at the end.
Peak Hill ascent: The Scenery
There’s a fairly obvious track the whole way to the summit, then easy navigation in good weather to a point beyond the summit at 1096m metres. It’s a rocky knoll to the north of the summit.
The first part of the walk is through a paddock, then it’s a steep and potentially muddy and slippery climb to the beginning of the summit ridge. Walking along the ridge is easier than the initial climb. This area can be exposed to the wind so we were happy to have chosen a calm day. More information on the DOC website.
Note that on the map above there is a route marked to complete a loop, however I’ve read about this elsewhere and they said the route is not maintained and is overgrown in places. It didn’t sound very good so I don’t recommend it.