Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton, Canterbury NZ

Great views over the port town of Lyttelton and its harbour on this circuit in the Port Hills, just south of Christchurch.

Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton

This circuit walk in the Port Hills next to Christchurch takes in part of the Crater Rim Walkway above Lyttelton, the South Island’s major port. There are great views of Lytteton Harbour and the town itself, and a bit of a workout as you ascend onto the tops. This area is part of an old volcano, and you can see the shape of the crater in the surrounding hills. There are also views over Christchurch to the north, and out over the Canterbury Plains to the Southern Alps in the west. The vegetation is a bit mixed and not always that attractive, although there were nice sections of tussock grass up high. 

Being so close to Christchurch the tracks in the Port Hills can get fairly busy, although this may have been compounded on the day we did this walk by the need to “keep it local” during the Covid 19 restrictions. Nevertheless, the tracks we took up and down were a little quieter than the Crater Rim Walkway itself, which is accessible by road.  

Track notes at the end.

Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton: The Scenery

Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton
Ascending up the Urumau Track.
Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton
Adderley Head in the distance.
Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton
Looking towards Mt Pleasant and the gondola top station at Mt Cavendish on the left.

Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton

Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton
Old gun emplacements.
Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton
The Christchurch suburb of Sumner .
Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton
Looking down towards the Avon-Heathcote Estuary.
Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton
Lyttelton
Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton
A panorama of Lyttelton and Lyttelton Harbour.
Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton
You can see the crater shape in the circling mountains.
Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton
This section had attractive tussock.
Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton
A panorama over Christchurch.
Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton
Looking back towards Tauhinukorokio/ Mt Pleasant (499m). We ascended from the right.
Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton
Heathcote Valley
Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton
Sophia as we descended on the Stan Helms Track.
Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton
At the bottom of the Stan Helms Track.
Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton
This harbour is the largest on the South Island of New Zealand.
Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton
Yachts in the harbour.
Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton
Back in town.
Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit, Lyttelton
There are still some buildings in the Christchurch area propped up by girders. This one in Lyttelton at the end of our walk.

Track Notes

Urumau-Crater Rim Circuit Route Map
You can start anywhere in town, but the Urumau Reserve and tracks can be accessed from Foster Terrace. I’ve marked that point with a blue dot on this map.

The track through Urumau Reserve is fairly obvious, just don’t go off into the mountain biking area. The ascent up to the Crater Rim Walkway is a little rocky and quite steep, but not very far. It’s easy walking across the tops, and you have three choices to descend back down to Lyttelton: Major Hornbrook Track, the Bridle Path, or the Stan Helms Track. We took the last of these to make a slightly wider circuit, and it was fairly quiet, so a good choice I think. There are plenty more tracks in the Port Hills, and the Christchurch City Council has a good website with an interactive map of these tracks. There’s also a good website listing numerous walks all over the Banks Peninsula.

The entrance we used to Urumau Reserve is shown below…

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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