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Top Five Short Walks With Amazing Views Around Ōtautahi Christchurch

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Top Five Short Walks With Amazing Views Around Ōtautahi Christchurch

Grab those sneakers and enjoy the awesome scenery which makes Ōtautahi such a special place to live.

Explore our native forests, mountains and gaze over our coastlines on the many short walks found in our backyard here in Christchurch.

Check out our pick of short walks - less than an hour’s walk from your car - with views that will take your breath away!

1. Quarry Rim Track, Halswell

Stand atop the historic Halswell Quarry in southwest Christchurch and enjoy the stunning views of the mighty Southern Alps beyond.

Halswell Quarry offers a fun day out for friends, family and pets with its many tracks, historic sites and six sister-city gardens.

The Quarry Rim Track is a rewarding track with dramatic panoramic views, suitable for all ages and dogs on the leash.

The details:

  • Time: 40 mins return loop.
  • Start at the main car park loop.
  • Views of southwest Christchurch and the Southern Alps stretching the skyline.
  • Dogs on leash. Unfenced dog exercise park where dogs can be off the leash, but under effective control.
  • Dogs are prohibited from the Wetlands Conservation Area.

While you’re here:

Harry Ell Track

Explore the native and exotic woodland on the Harry Ell track, located on the Christchurch port hills, with your whole family, including your furry friends!

You can begin your adventure from various points and enjoy the beautiful scenery, ranging from open areas that offer stunning views of the city to bushy areas that are home to native birds.

Along the Harry Ell track, you'll find plenty of spots to rest and take in the stunning views to make it easily accessible for everyone.

The details:

  • Time: 45 min one way.
  • Distance: 3km
  • Start at the ‘Sign of the Takahe’
  • Finish at the ‘Sign of the Kiwi’
  • Toilets are located at Victoria Park and Sign of the Kiwi
  • Dogs must be kept on a leash.

While you're here:

Continue your walk along the many different walking paths around the Crater Rim Walkway. Grab a well-deserved coffee and a muffin from the Sign of the Kiwi Cafe.


Rāpaki Track

Nestled on the picturesque Port Hills, this track is renowned for its breathtaking views and attracts a diverse range of outdoor enthusiasts, from seasoned hikers and casual walkers to thrill-seeking mountain bikers.

Experience the breathtaking views of the Lyttelton Harbour on the Rāpaki Track and immerse yourself in the volcanic peaks and ridges of the Banks Peninsula.

The details:

  • Time: 45 min one way.
  • Distance: 3.5km.
  • Start at Junction of Rāpaki Road and Centaurus Road in Hillsborough.
  • Finish at Rāpaki Track car park on Summit Road.
  • Dogs must be kept on a leash.

While you're here:

Check out the Lyttelton Farmers’ Market every Saturday from 10am to 1pm. Enjoy a frothy pint overlooking the harbour at the Wunderbar.

City Promenade

Previously for vehicles, Oxford Terrace on the east side of the river is now a spacious paved area for everyone to enjoy, and you may even catch a glimpse of some eels!

You will be able to see the national memorial to the victims of the Canterbury Earthquake, city bars and restaurants, Victoria Square, the Town Hall, the Ferrier Fountain - shaped like dandelions - and the Bowker Fountain which is the first illuminated electric fountain in Australasia.

As you continue along the City Promenade, you will eventually come across the world-renowned Margaret Mahy playground, a wonderland for children!

The details:

  • Time: 30 mins.
  • Distance: 2km.
  • Start at the Christchurch hospital.
  • Finish on Barbadoes Street at the end of Margaret Mahy Playground.

While you're here:

Explore the city shops and cafes or for a longer walk, cross the river and take the Te Ara Trail all the way out to the estuary.

Taylors Mistake To Godley Head

This track showcases some of Canterbury’s most stunning coastal views, a penguin colony, historic baches and a slice of New Zealand’s military history.

Your journey begins at Taylors Mistake beach - which is a popular surf break and a great spot for summer picnics - and be sure to keep an eye out for seabirds, white-flippered penguins, rare Hector’s dolphins, seals, and whales!

The area also served as a WWII coastal defence site, featuring gun emplacements, old military structures, and tunnels.

The details:

  • Time: 3hrs return.
  • Start and finish at Taylors Mistake car park.
  • Dogs must be kept on a leash.
  • Toilets located at Taylors Mistake car park and Godley Head car park.

While you're here:

  • When you reach Boulder Bay on your walk, it is worth detouring down to the baches lining the rocky beach. The history of the characterful baches dates back to the 1880s, when fishermen started building up the mouths of caves to provide shelter for their weekend's fishing.