Christchurch Off The Beaten Path Tips by fishandchips Top 5 Page for this destination
Christchurch Off The Beaten Path: 105 reviews and 178 photos
Angie at the top
Our early settlers used this track from Lyttelton and over the hill to Heathcote and Ferrymead back in the 1850's and onward. The track is fairly steep especially on the Christchurch side so would have been very difficult to move the horse & carriage up and over.
These days the track is used constantly by walkers and runners plus the occassional MTB person who is on the very keen side. The walk up and over takes no more than 35 mins so it's a quick hike with spectacular views over both Christchurch and Lyttelton at the top.
At the entrance
Victoria Park is located above Christchurch on the Port Hills and is a great place to go for a photo safari. It is located on Cashmere Hill and is an easy walk from the Sign of the Takahe if you get here via the number 10 Bus. The park is named after an English Queen and was opened way back in 1897 to celebrate the queen's silver jubilee.
The park has been in place for many years and is the scene of one of Christchurch's more famous murders in 1954 (check out the movie Heavenly Creatures) when a Christchurch Girl's High schools girl and her friend killed her mother.
There are many paths and tracks in and around the Park including the Harry Ell track and nearby Bowenvale track being a favourite of local mountain bike riders. There are several picnic tables a children's playground and visitors' centre which information on the tracks and display of the area's history and geology.
Views over the golf course
Amberley is located about 50Km north of Christchurch and is a small town that most just pass through. It's a good spot to stop for a cup of tea or pick up you bottle of water for the longer trek to Kaikoura or Picton.
Amberley has several shops and a nice Golf Course located near the beach and the even smaller community of Amberley Beach. This area has suffered from recent flooding but is almost dried out now.
There is good surf fishing on the beach and great views all the way back down Pegasus Bay to Christchurch. The Amberley River runs its course near here and it's also a good spot for a visit and a bit of a swim if the river is up high enough.
Akaroa from the other side of the harbour
Akaroa was orginally set up by the French in their attempt to claim the local area for King & country. While the original 63 French settlers were at sea, sailing towards what they believed was a small piece of France in the South Pacific NZ Governor William Hobson despatched Capt Stanley, on "HMS Britomart", with an English flag. Soon after arrival, the 63 French settlers on hearing the truth that they were now living in a British Colony, were offered passage and land grants in Tahiti or the Marquesas. None accepted and their legacy is a beautiful small town.
Akaroa is a great day trip from Christchurch of just over 80km's. The trip takes you past Little River, over Hill Top (worth a stop), past Duvauchelles pub and on, a few km's later, to Rue Jolie and the start of Akaroa. If you follow Rue Jolie to its end you will find the Garden of Tane and the very old cemetary which is worth a walk around.
There are many other activities that can be enjoyed including wildlife cruises, sailing, swimming with the dolphins, boat hire and sea kayaking plus seal and penguin colony tours.
Town with Cemetary in the middle
Lyttelton is a nice place to start a day trip around the harbour and to the various bays and places. Lyttelton can be approached from many directions with the most common either through the tunnel via Heathcote Valley or over the hill from Sumner.
There are several places of note to visit including the Time Ball station, old Gaol and the Wonderbar.
Once you are here you can continue on around the various bays including Rapaki, Cass, Corsair, Charteris (inlc Orton Bradley Park with Golf Course and great walks), Govenors and Diamond Harbour. Further round gets you to Purau and Port Levy.
Port Hills in the distance
The Port Hills are full of interesting walks and things to do. During winter they are often covered with snow and nice to look at but very tricky to drive on. Be careful of the conditions when you go exploring around the Port Hills as bad weather can come in quick and catch you out.
This photo was taken from the central city looking past the Westpac building to the snowy tops of the hills.
Angie on Harry Ell's track
This track is an easy walk going from the Sign of the Takahe to the Sign of the Kiwi some 3.2 km's further up the hill. There is plenty of car parking at either end so you can choose if you want the uphill portion first or last. If you are not travelling by car you can take the number 10 bus up to the Sign of the Takahe (which is this buses last stop before changing direction) for $2.50.
At the Sign of the Kiwi there is an okay tea rooms selling items such as ice creams & camera film plus there are toilets and drinking fountain so you don't really need to pack food or water. If you are feeling more adventurous you can cross the road and walk on eof the tracks around 'Sugarloaf' which has the main Television transmission centre and aerial. There are also walks back through Victoria park, around the Crater Rim and down Bowenvale Valley though if you have parked your car somewhere you will probably think twice about the last two tracks.
The below website has more info including a good map of the track and more info on the facilities.
Walking on Cedric's Track
This track starts just over the road from the Sign of the Kiwi and up to the left of Sugarloaf giving you great vistas of both the Canterbury plains and Lyttelton Harbour. The track is steep to start with and levels out a bit as you carry on up and around the peak. A couple of side tracks branch off to the right - the first being Mitchells which is a nice walk through bush and trees so you have options for which direction you want to go around the peak. If you carry on up to the top of Cedric's you will arrive at the Sugarloaf Car Park. From here you have the option of taking one of the tracks down into Victoria park on your left or carry on to the right and toward Summit Road. The first valley you will come to if you go right is Bowenvale which is over the road on your left.
Sign of the Kiwi
The Sign of the Kiwi is located up Dyers Pass Road on what is known as Coronation Hill ( named after the coronation of King George V in 1911). Coronation Hill was acquired by Henry George 'Harry' Ell with the track under his name running between the Sign of the Takahe and Sign of the Kiwi. The sign itself is on the left front of the photo below.
The Sign of the Kiwi was officially opened on 9 June 1917 and operated as a tearoom and rest house until the 1940's when it was closed to the public by the Department of Lands and Survey. In the 1950's the Council built public toilets and partially restored the building. Today the Sign of the Kiwi serves as a shop providing refreshments.
Also located here is a remnant of the Toll Gate established by Harry Ell in 1922 to raise funds for the construction and maintenance of the road to Kennedys Bush.
The sign of the Kiwi is one of four 'rest houses' situated around the Port Hills with the others being the Sign of the Takahe, Sign of the Bellbird (Kennedys Bush) and Sign of the Packhorse (Kaituna Valley).
Inside the Cave
This seaside suburb was named after Dr Sumner, the Archbishop of canterbury in 1850. It's a nice spot to go for an evening walk and maybe climb over Cave Rock. If you time it right you will be able to walk through the cave at low tide. Sumner has plenty to see and do including some nice eating places, a good Tea House and interesting museum on the corner of Nayland St and Wakefield Ave.
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