The Blowhard Track starts from the end of the Maori Reserve Road, near the Boys Brigade Camp, and finishes at the Glentui picnic area via the Richardson Track. A vehicle shuttle is needed or one member of the family can take the opportunity to do a trail run in the opposite direction.
In general the area is about 60 km northwest of Christchurch and is reached either from Oxford or Rangiora and can make an interesting round trip.
Length of Walk:
The total length of the walk is approx. 15 km. The Blowhard track is about 9.3 km long and the Richardson track another 4 km.
This track is suitable for people of moderate to high fitness due to some steep, rough and muddy sections. The track itself has signs and markers, which even allows the kids to lead. In addition, two small streams have to be crossed, which is no problem at all. The condition of the track is, except of some eroded and muddy parts, good and acceptable, especially for kids.
During your hike, you pass through tall, native Tawahai and Beech forests, as well as skeleton tree trunks which are a legacy of lightning strikes in the 1980. Not to mention some tree fall from the September 2013 wind event. Once you are at the Mt Richardson Summit you get a great view of the Puketeraki Range and Lees Valley.
Usually it takes 3-4 hours to ascend to the summit of Mt Richardson (1047). When walking this track with kids it has to be considered that kids need more short breaks during the hike for some snacks, water, exploration or to just keep them motivated. From the summit of Mt Richardson you descend for approx. 2 hours to the Glentui picnic area, with an optional walk to the Glentui Waterfall (15 min one way). Therefore, the whole walk takes about 6 hours, including lunch, exploration breaks and little motivation chats.
To avoid a vehicle shuttle you can also choose the Bypass Track which is a round trip from the Glentui Picnic Area via the Richardson, Blowhard and Bypass tracks. It takes approx. 4-6 hours and also leads you through native Tawahai and Beech forests, plus to the Mt Richardson summit.
For more information have a look at:
How was it for us:
Our Saturday day trip to Mt Richardson was a full success.
After enjoying delicious pancakes made by Eva and me, we started to get ready and packed our backpacks, while Dan prepared lunch for everyone.
In the meantime, Anne left the house to meet her friend Kate in order to use this as an opportunity to train for the Springs Challenge and to run into the opposite direction to avoid the vehicle shuttle (with the hope to meet the rest of the family on top of the mountain).
The weather was on our side – beautiful sunshine and a clear sky. Eva & Liam were full of energy (running the first half an hour) and Dan very motivated to share his passion for the outdoors with us.
It is also important to mention Fern, the dog, and I were not being left behind - we were definitely as excited as the others.
Once we passed the first honeydew tree, it was hard to get the kids away but we managed, although we had to stop at each tree. Continuing the trip with some jumps into tussock grasses, eating some berries, chewing on “pepper” leaves before arriving at the top of the ridge where we had our lunch break.
Not even having finished half of our sandwich we could hear a familiar voice. “I can hear Mommy!”, “I can see her over there!”. The kids jumped up and ran towards Anne.
After a little chat and the exchange of keys, both of us hit the road again. A few little breaks and laboured breaths later we made it to the Mt Richardson summit, where we could enjoy an incredible view.
Afterwards, the Richardson track led us downhill through mountain beech/tawhai forest, plus small streams where our tummies were filled with water. Arriving at the end of the track, the Glentui picnic area, the kids didn’t show any tiny sign of tiredness (compared to us and Fern), but rather insisted on playing a final round of “hide & seek”.
To sum up, we had a blast during the whole walk, I couldn’t stop giggling and the kids have made new memories, which were right away shared with their friends the next day. - Eva Starostka, Hiking New Zealand Intern with a very big smile :)