Bridle Path Walk

Walking icon

Intensity: Walking track (but quite steep)

Duration of walk: 3 hours return

How to get there: There is a car park on the city side of the Bridle Path, just below the foot of the Christchurch Gondola. From the city take Brougham Street following signs for Lyttelton. Continue on this road as it turns to Port Hills Road and then Tunnel Road. Follow signs for the Gondola and the car park will be just below. Metro Bus number 28 takes you from Central Station to the Gondola base and through to Lyttelton.

Description of walk: The historic walkway was originally constructed in 1850. It was the foot route across the Port Hills for Canterbury's first European settlers travelling between Lyttelton and Christchurch and there are a number of memorial seats for the pioneers and the first four ships on the walkway. If starting from the city side, climb a steep gravel track to the Summit Road and the Crater Rim walkway. There is a distinctive hexagonal stone shelter by the road that commemorates the pioneer women of Canterbury. On the Lyttelton side, descend steeply before emerging on to Bridle Path Road. Once you reach Lyttelton follow the track down to the built up area and turn left and walk 30m to Cornwall Road then turn right and it is an easy walk into Lyttelton. Return the same way or alternative catch the number 28 bus back through the tunnel. A round trip with less effort can be made by taking the gondola up to Mt Cavendish and returning to Heathcote via the Crater Rim Walkway and Bridle Path.

Facilities available & important information:

  • Toilets available in Lyttelton
  • Dogs allowed on a lead only
  • Signposted

More Information


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  • By Viv 01/07/2014

    Oh the cruel irony of a bridle path 'walk' that is closed to horses.

  • By David 07/08/2014

    This is my favourite walk. You should try it. Highly recomended. Its fun it easy or if you prefer a challenge try walking up the oil pipe thats allways fun. The veiw from the top is great. You see Christchurch, Lyttleton and the hills. There is lots of nature on the track. The track is easily marked. so no one could get lost. You can also climb to the top of the gondela from this walk. What I do is I start at the bottem near the gondela. Walk over get some hot chips for lunch or afternoon tea. Then I walk back to the top. Enjoy the veiw and run as fast as I can down the oil pipe. I awlays do this walk with my family. I have had 5 year olds walk with me and 75 years olds. So It is a great walk. I can do the walk in about 2:30hours. You will love this thrack.

    • By Deb 30/08/2014

      David, can you explain the "oil pipe". It sounds interesting.

    • By David 25/09/2014

      This in in response to Deb. The black line is the oil pipe. The arrow is pointing to the hut at the top. The hut is closed at the moment due to the earthquake. As you can see the oil pipe brakes off from the Bridle Path and re-joins the Bridle path. This map doesn’t show the start of the Bridle Path. You start by walking up the Bridle Path then you climb over a fence or gate onto the oil pipe track. The oil pipe is a steeper track but is much quicker than the normal walk if you are fit. There is an easy walkway up the oil pipe as there are footprints all the way to the top. It is a lot steeper and harder work, but is a great challenge. The oil pipe is a simple track to follow and you could never get lost. It is also fun (well for me at least) to sprint down the oil pipe. I am 14 years old so it makes it easy to run down. The pipe is silver. You can potentially get to the top of the hill twice as quick. But I do the walk about once a week so that makes a difference. Sometimes you see sheep. The scenery change is slightly different. So in conclusion this is a great challenge and loads of fun. I hope I have answered all your questions.

    • By David 25/09/2014

      Sorry before you read the post click on the attachment "yes". These are two more photo's of the oil pipe. That I got off google maps.

    • By David 25/09/2014

      Here is the last photo.

  • By April 08/10/2014

    How long is the track there and back km wise?

    • By Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism 17/10/2014

      Hi there. The Bridle Path is 2.4 kms one way (Bridle Path carpark to Lyttelton).

  • By A.truscott (AUS) 25/01/2015

    I did this walk about 15 years ago with my Grandmother and I'm returning this time with my husband and 5 month old. Is the trail suitable for a pram? It's a 3 wheeler with big tyres.

    • By Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism 28/01/2015

      Hi there, the Bridle Path Walk isn't very well suited to prams as the track is quite narrow in places. The Rapaki Track would be a better option -

  • By Mum with a toddler 27/01/2015

    Hi there, I class myself as a reasonably fit person and have walked the Rapaki track with a toddler in my front-pack several times. I just wanted to know if it's doable to take her up Bridle path?

    • By Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism 28/01/2015

      Hi there, yes, the Bridle Path Walk is doable with a toddler in a front pack. Although the track is definitely steeper on the Lyttelton side of the Port Hills. Enjoy the walk!

  • By norman 04/02/2015

    just for peace of mind if we where to do this walk and a pri 1 injury occures, what is the flight time of the westpac chopper

  • By Satish Narayan 12/06/2015

    How long is the walk From the base of the gondola car park to the gondola restaurant?

    • By David 11/09/2015

      To get from the gondola car park to the gondola Resaurant takes about 30minutes, though it depends on how fit you are. It might take 20-40 mins. It is really worth walking it though, You can walk to the Resaurant and feel that you have earned your meal/coffee, plus you have burned off some calories. Hope this helps😀

  • By malcolm warena 22/07/2015

    Yes its a good one to get you fit also the mobil pipeline we do as a team on Saturdays , even though its steep 23% gradient keep going the more times you do this walk the more conditioned you become its a lot harder than Rapaki track which usually is quite busy at times Bridal Path is the way to go either from Lyttleton side or Heathcote by the gondola awesome views from the top and the cool fresh air makes it all worthwhile . I would say this is definitely one of the better tracks going around yes you should give it a go people its well worth it !!!

  • By Buttns 31/01/2016


    My name is Vicky. I have done this track. I was 18 years old and into mountain biking. My brother had done this track on his mountain bike lots so I thought i'd give it a go. Rounded up a couple of friends and set off. On way back however, on the gondola side, my brakes failed, I hit a ditch, flew over my handle bars, hit a bank and got knocked out for 3 1/2 hrs. The Tunnel Patrol had to come get me coz the ambo couldn't. I haven't been back since and I'm now 34 years old. I lost my some of my memory that day. I don't even remember my best friend and suffer severe migraines. If any one does this track, BE CAREFUL

    • By Steve 22/02/2016

      Less the tracks fault and more the bikes really isn't it?