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Christchurch Walking and Hiking Tracks

Enjoy the unique landscapes of Christchurch by foot. Highlights include a mix of wildlife, historic sites and expansive coastlines.

Bottle Lake Forest (Blue Track)

Bottle Lake is an exotic pine forest of approximately 800 hectares. Tracks include long and short options to suit all ages and levels of fitness. Forest walks can be cool and shady on a hot day with a lot of bird life.

Duration of walk:
The Blue Track is 11.4km in length and is fairly flat so should take around 1.5 - 2 hours.

Start location:
The main entrance and car park for Bottle Lake Forest is from Waitikiri Drive, off Burwood Road, via either Marshlands or Burwood. There is also access from Spencer Park and from North Shore along the Southern Pegasus Bay track. The Blue Track start is clearly marked and begins about 200 metres from the main carpark.

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Halswell Quarry Walks

Halswell Quarry played a major role in the development of Christchurch. It ceased production in 1990 after 140 years of quarrying. The park features six sister city gardens and a Canterbury botanical collection. This is a unique 60.4 hectare park, with an unusual combination of recreational walks and historic sites.

Duration of walk:
Various walks ranging from 5 - 40 minutes with the opportunity to combine walks.

Start location:
All walks can be accessed from the car park off Kennedys Bush Road.

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Styx Mill

The reserve extends along the Styx River for nearly 1.6km which provides a lovely setting for walks and recreation. There are 10 species of freshwater fish, approximately 46 bird species to be seen and an important spawning ground. A viewing platform makes a good place for fish and bird spotting.

Duration of walk: A number of walks in the reserve with Panako Walkway being popular. It is a 40 minute walk within the reserve.

Start location: Start from the Hussey Road carpark.

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Hagley Park

Walk alongside the peaceful Avon. Enjoy spring flowers in the Woodland area or the autumnal leaves around the park. Take time to view the Peace Bell, Central Rose Garden and Conservatories before taking the Armagh Footbridge back to the carpark.

Duration of walk:
There are a number of tracks linking North & South Hagley Park with the Botanic Gardens at the heart. A full loop is roughly 7km and will take roughly 2 hours.

Start location:
There is a carpark off Armagh Street which is a good location for starting the walk.

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Spencer Park Walks

There has been considerable native planting attracting many birds to the area with sheltered picnic areas that can be booked. The beach is a short walk with a Surf Life Saving club operating in the summer months.

Duration of walk:
1 - 10km tracks.

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Get the blood pumping on these popular hill walks. Enjoy panoramic views of the city, Southern Alps and learn about the history of the early settlers to the region.

Bridle Path

This route was first constructed in 1850 for Canterbury's first European settlers travelling between Lyttelton and Christchurch. A steep track but stunning views over the city to the Southern Alps and of Lyttelton and Banks Peninsula make it worth while! There are a number of memorial seats on the way up and a stone shelter at the top to commemorate the pioneer women of Canterbury. The number 28 bus runs between Lyttelton and the city via Heathcote if you would prefer to only do the walk one way.

Duration of walk:
4.8km track, 2 hour return.

Start location:
Either start on the city side from the Bridle Path car park, just below the Christchurch Gondola or Lyttelton side from Bridle Path road.

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Rapaki Track

One of the most popular walks in the city. Steep in parts but great views of the city, estuaries and ocean walking up and views over Banks Peninsula at the top. The top is the Summit Road which can be accessed by road and also good for linking to other tracks at the top if you want to carry on or return the same way. Well formed track. good for off-road prams.

Duration of walk:
7km, 2 hours return.

Start location:
Parking on Rapaki Road or nearby roads.

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Victoria Park - Harry Ell

Well maintained walkway with a few points that would be difficult to navigate with a pram. Undulating but not overly steep. Beautiful views across the city to the Southern Alps. End at Sign of the Kiwi, water fountain and toilets are available here. To return head back the same way or link up with Thomsons Track or Bowenvale Valley Track to get back to Victoria Park.

Duration of walk:
2 hours, 4km distance.

Start location:
A number of entry points but a good car-park at Victoria Park Visitor Centre.

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Kennedy's Bush Track

The track is mostly on a wide 4WD surface, starting with a steady climb and then flattening and descends at the gate before climbing again to end at the Summit Road. At the top it's well worth crossing over to the Crater Rim track and have taking in the views of Lyttelton Harbour.

Duration of walk:
5.3km, 1 hour one way.

Start location:
Start at Halswell Quarry or at the end of Kennedy's Bush Road.

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Ahuriri - Crater Rim: Sign of the Bellbird

Head along the Summit Road to reach the saddle on the south side of Cass Peak Reserve. A cattle grid marks the point where you can leave the road to access the track. Stunning views over the city to the Southern Alps. Ahuriri Reserve is a small pocket of bush tucked away on the Plains side of the ridge. Carefully fenced, it has maintained its understory and some fine examples of great old native trees.

Duration of walk:
8km and 3 hours return.

Start location:
Sign of the Bellbird or Summit Road.

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Pack a picnic and enjoy a great variety of coastal and wetland walks around the city of Christchurch. Highlights include stunning coastal scenery and many opportunities to view a vast range of wildlife.

Taylors Mistake - Godley Head

One of Christchurch's iconic walks due to the beautiful ocean, harbour and city views. Historic military buildings remain and can be explored. Very well maintained track but can be steep in parts.

Duration of walk:
7km, 3 hour round trip.

Start location:
There is a car park at the end of Godley Head Road and also at Taylors Mistake beach.

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Otamahua/Quail Island

Walkway with interpretive panels explaining the history of the island. Enjoy magnificent views with calm bays perfect for swimming and paddling in the warmer months.

Duration of walk:
2 hours 30 minutes return.

Start location:
Quail Island is located within Lyttelton Harbour and can be accessed only by boat. There are ferry’s running daily in the summer months from Lyttelton.

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Travis Wetland

A special place to view wildlife, with over 50 species of birds, indigenous skinks, native shortfin eels/tuna and the Canterbury mudfish/kowaro. Suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs as it is a good gravelled path.

Duration of walk:
The loop is approximately 4k and will take 1 hour to complete.

Start location:
The main car park and access is located at the end of Beach Road or there is also an alternative entrance on Mairehau Road.

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Southern Pegasus Bay Track

Well-made track climbs onto the crest of dunes offering good views of the shoreline. Great wildlife spotting at Southshore Spit Reserve.

Duration of walk:
The track is approximately 14.5 km in length, 3.5 hours.

Start location:
Multiple entrances, Spencer Park Surf Club, Broad Park or Southshore Spit.

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The Christchurch 360 Trail

The Christchurch 360 Trail is a 135km long trail encircling the city of Christchurch.

Fondly referred to as The Meurky Walk (in honour of its inventor) - it links up many existing tracks and urban routes.

Walk highlights include:

  • Marshes & wetlands
  • Dry Savannah ecosystems
  • Verdant bush remnants
  • Hilltop of the Crater Rim
  • Items of historical & cultural interest

There are eight sections of the trail all ranging in length from 4-5 hour walks to 9-10 hours.

Eight sections include:

  • Leg 1 - Godley Cliffs 16km (7 - 8 hour walk)
  • Leg 2 - Estuary Marshes 19km (7 - 8 hour walk)
  • Leg 3 - Dunes Wetlands 16km (6 - 7 hour walk)
  • Leg 4 - Brooklands Mouth 10km (4 -5 hour walk)
  • Leg 5 - Waimakariri Braids 20km (7 - 8 hour walk)
  • Leg 6 - Avonhead Gardens 24km (9 - 10 hour walk)
  • Leg 7 - Opawaho Divide 16km (6 - 7 hour walk)
  • Leg 8 - Sugarloaf Hills 18km (8 - 9 hour walk)

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The Christchurch 360 Trail