"Winter Magic at Castle Hill" Top 5 Page for this destination Canterbury Things to Do Tip by Kakapo2

Canterbury Things to Do: 33 reviews and 68 photos

  A kind of cat king looking over his kingdom.
by Kakapo2
  • A kind of cat king looking over his kingdom. - Canterbury
      A kind of cat king looking over his kingdom.
    by Kakapo2
  • Many cow droppings on the way to the rocks. - Canterbury
      Many cow droppings on the way to the rocks.
    by Kakapo2
  • Castle Hill from SH 73. - Canterbury
      Castle Hill from SH 73.
    by Kakapo2
  • The rocks dwarve those horses on the paddock. - Canterbury
      The rocks dwarve those horses on the paddock.
    by Kakapo2
  • Getting through the gap... - Canterbury
      Getting through the gap...
    by Kakapo2

Before going on this trip in winter...

1.) check the weather forecast
2.) check the road conditions
3.) store snow chains in the boot of your car
4.) pack warm clothes and sturdy shoes (and food and water, for the rare case you get stuck in a snow storm)

If the road is not closed but snow chains are compulsory police might control this in Springfield.

The drive from Christchurch to Arthur's Pass is really magic in winter, with the snow-capped mountains embellishing every picture. As we do quite some walking we sometimes head home from Lake Grassmere. Lake Lyndon is wonderful in winter, and then we spend a lot of time at Castle Hill, walk a bit at Broken River, Craigieburn and/or Cave Stream. Even when the snow has melted SH 73 can be icy and slippery in shady parts. The roads in the forests remain snow-covered, and ice can be under the snow, so take care.

The limestone rocks of Castle Hill have a special magic in winter. (Ok, a little less when families with children are around, the fathers climb on the rocks with kids, and those scream all over the place for mum to take a picture from below ;-) Just the other day (June 2007) we had a wonderful day there, in beautiful sunshine and not too much snow, so we could have our lunch on one of the rocks with a great view over the whole area.

Whereas it is no problem to get up the hill it can be tricky downhill, and the more people have walked around before you, the more slippery it gets. If you have walking poles do not leave them in the car - especially if you already have a strained calf muscle... ;-)

The 10 minute walk to the rocks which remind me in some way of Arches Valley, just in mini-format and grey and not red, can be muddy and slippery in sunshine because actually cows are grazing there, leaving huuuuge droppings - which is tricky when it snows on them LOL (No, no, I did not step into any LOL)

The whole area is dotted with Castle Hill-like limestone formations, they are just not as spectacular but still impressive.

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jun 24, 2007
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