Waimairi Beach to Spencer Park 2017

With a forecast high of 19C, it was warm work for our 16 walkers.  It was a five hour round trip, starting on the beach to Spencer Park, then coming back on the Southern Pegasus Bay Walkway.  Normally a trip of 14km, we took an ‘unscheduled’ detour through the wetlands, which increased the length to around 17km.


Setting out at Waimairi Beach

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Purple Peak Curry Reserve, Akaroa

An hour’s drive from Christchurch is the Purple Peak Curry Reserve. It is a 190 hectare conservation area near Akaroa, Banks Peninsula, purchased from the Curry family in 2015 by the Native Forest Restoration Trust, with substantial backing from the Christchurch City Council and the Rod Donald Banks Peninsula Trust.  It is now managed by the Maurice White Native Forest Trust, which also manages the the adjacent Hinewai Reserve.

Our group of 12 walkers began walking at 10am. We drove up Long Bay Road to the Heritage Park to begin. With a forecast of 16C maximum, there was a blustery westerly wind which was cool when we were in exposed parts of the track. While mostly cloudy, the sun did peek through, causing us to peel off some layers of clothing on the many steep sections.  Our 10km walk took around five hours, including morning tea and lunch stops. Minimum altitude was 117 metres, maximum 610 metres.

Purple Peak Curry Reserve and surrounds (click to enlarge)

Follow the orange line for our walk, starting at #3 (the Heritage Park) and going in an anti-clockwise direction.  Between Browntop Saddle and Purple Peak Saddle we dropped down off the ridge to the other side for our lunch.  #1 is the Woodills North Track.  #2 is the Woodills South Track.  #4 is the Curry Track.


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Cooper’s Knob from Hoon Hay Reserve, August 2017

On a winter’s day that had a spring touch to it, the temperature rose to 16C for our trip on a section of the Crater Rim Walkway. Our 14 walkers parked their cars  at the Hoon Hay Reserve carpark, not far along the Summit Road from the Sign of the Kiwi. Our trip took around five hours, including morning tea and lunch stops.

On the Crater Rim Walkway, above the Summit Road

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Sign of the Bellbird via Harry Ell Track and Crater Rim

Our winter’s day started with a frost and a little bit of sunshine, though the day only reached 9C, and we were sheltering from a cold southerly wind at times. The day was all about Harry Ell, a Christchurch city councillor, parliamentarian and conservationist who planned a network of four teahouses for travellers on the Port Hills. We passed by three of these historic buildings on our 18km trek. As well, we walked on the Harry Ell Track, named after him.


Sign of the Takahe

Our walk began at the Sign of the Takahe. Built in the style of an English Manor House, it is the grandest of Harry Ell’s teahouses, begun in 1918 and completed in 1948 after his death. Work to strengthen and renovate it after the Christchurch earthquakes is almost complete. Prior to the earthquakes it had been operating as a restaurant, wedding and function centre.

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