The recent fire in the Port Hills of Christchurch means we need to think a little more creatively about where to go for a day walk or a short walk close to the city. There is still plenty of great options to choose from.
The BP is a classic for both walkers and cyclists to see if you can get from the carpark up to Summit Road without feeling too puffed or putting a foot down from your bike.
You can walk up the Bridle Path and enjoy the glorious views of both Pegasus Bay and Lyttelton Harbour before walking down into Lyttelton itself. Lyttelton is a great spot for lunch, a coffee and a little poke around the shops. It is 2.4km from the carpark to Lyttelton, but do remember it is a reasonable climb so allow yourself an hour. From Lyttelton you can catch a bus through the tunnel back to the Bridle Path car park.
Another option if you do not really enjoy walking up hills is to treat yourself to a ride in the gondola. Sit back and enjoy the views across the Canterbury Plains to the Southern Alps and the coastline of Pegasus Bay. There is a café and restaurant at the top if you want a coffee or meal to make the most of your journey. You can then enjoy the walk down the Bridle Path back to the base station of the gondola.
The Godley Head Walkway is a fabulous walk and a personal favourite of mine. Park at Taylors Mistake and head out along the coastline. The track is well formed but not suitable for a buggy or pushchair. When you reach Boulder Bay you may want to scramble down to the beach and see the classic kiwi baches dotted along the water’s edge.
The track then leaves the coastline and heads up to Godley Head Road. Step back in time and explore the gun emplacements as this area is the site of a WWII coastal defence battery with gun emplacements.
You can make this a loop walk by walking along the Crater Rim Track before dropping back down into Taylors Mistake. Time for a swim at the end if the sun shining.
The full loop will take about 3 hours of walking and is 7km in length.
Don’t forget Banks Peninsula if you have a little more time as there is a plethora of options for people that are comfortable walking on tracks that are more rough and steep than those around the Christchurch city.
The Department of Conservation have a great pdf brochure of Banks Peninsula conservation walks.
If travelling from Christchurch these walks are slightly longer so you do need to allow enough time for the travel as well as the hiking.
Our family love the hike up to Mt Richardson and have written a detailed blog about this fantastic day walk.
Once again, the Department of Conservation have a very good brochure on walking and mountain biking options in the areas. Their Foothills forests brochure is worth downloading and reading to find some good walks in the wider Canterbury area.