Apr 29th, 2015


A quick mission to run to the top of Mt Isobel in Hanmer Springs, North Canterbury, between school hours for four working Mums was in order for Anne, Kyla, Claire and Michelle (lets not forget Fern aka Trail Running Dog).


Mt Isobel, Hanmer Springs, 130k NW of Christchurch via State Highway 7 or 110k from Rangiora. The start of the Department of Conservation track is about 2ks up the Clarence Valley Road, turn right off Jacks Pass Road. 
1 kilometre out west from the centre of the village.

Length of Trail Run:

10kms, 1000 metre ascent. This is from bottom of Clarence Valley Road, to summit (1324metres) and back down the North Western route to Clarence Valley Road car park.


This is graded an advanced tramping track on the Department of Conversation website. Some of the track is rough and steep with cairns or poles only the indication of where the route goes. Challenging.

Time needed: 

Actually not as long as you may think! 2.15 hours if you are fit and running the majority of the way. 3-6 hours if walking.

 Alternatives Routes:

We did the "loop" from Clarence Valley Rd car park, you could do a "up and down" the same track which would be approximately 15 minutes shorter. Alternatively there is the Waterfall Track which drops off the top of the summit to the East and will take you down to Jollies Pass Road about popping out 5kms from the village.


For more information visit Department of Conservation 



I had a good feeling about today. The kids were unusually compliant in the normally harried morning school drop off routine, everyone arrived on time at the allotted meeting point, the compulsory coffee pick up was tasty and the traffic was kind to us. 

The mission was to get to Hanmer Springs and back from Rangiora (220k round trip) summit Mt Isobel (10k, 1000m hill climb) for our weekly #midweekmission trail run with the girls. All between the school hours of 9.00am to 3.00pm.

Who's got the snacks?  

Arriving in Hanmer, a picturesque alpine village in North Canterbury, we parked up at the bottom of Jacks Pass Road just a few hundred metres west of the village centre and packed our running packs. Time check, and we were off up Clarence Valley Road. 

Within the first minute I knew why Fern, aka Trail Running Dog, was amongst our ranks - Fern lead the way, leaping up the hill with Anne firmly attached to the other end of the lead. Fast Claire, the strongest and most competitive amongst us, took on the challenge of keeping up with the dog-powered Anne. I, on the other-hand, ate their dust and contemplated my revenge once the single track commenced and the dog let off her lead.

The 2km road section is a great warm up, a steady climb with no really steep pinches to give you an excuse to walk. Within ten minutes we were onto the single track and provided with some steady climbing that allowed for a combination of running and walking. 

After bursting through the low cloud that cloaked the lower slopes of Mt Isobel we poked our heads out into the sunshine and felt on top of the world. We managed to catch up with Kyla at the saddle - which suggests we did a bit more walking than running on the single track. 

Before reaching the ridge the terrain turned from larches to subalpine scrub and open grassland. We continued to the summit (1324 metres) for some amazing panoramic views of Hanmer Springs and beyond. 

This called for a quick photo opportunity (barbie toes girls) before dropping back down to the saddle and veering off to the right for a fun technical scree and rutted-out down hill before landing once again on Clarence Valley Road. 

The wonderful feeling you get when you reach the top.
Claire, Kyla, Michelle and Anne.

Calls of "wait for meee" from Anne as we barrelled down the technical downhill indicated my revenge had been secured. The downhill section was over way too quickly as Anne emerged from the dust of my shoes.

A quick road sprint back to the parked car where plenty of “What a day!” “Awesome run” were shared amongst us and the adrenaline was flowing.

As only chicks could do we even managed a quick shop and bite to eat in the village before departing back to Rangiora to collect a total of 9 children between us. 

Phew, mission accomplished!

As a group of Mum's juggling children, work and fitness we try and keep every Thursday free to blast out a #midweekmission. Check out the Hiking New Zealand Instagram page as there is always time for a photo or two when we are out there #livingthedream.

Michelle footer new


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