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Top Hikes in Canterbury

Updated: Feb 14

Bridle Path

2.4km to top of track

Approximately 45 minutes one way

Dogs allowed on leash

Steep incline

Starts at the Gondola car park, this walk is fairly steep but the panoramic views at the top (Summit Road) make it well worth it. If you feel like challenging yourself, you can opt for the pipeline track (few hundred metres up the track, hard to miss) which is even steeper and your legs will be feeling the burn on this one. Once you hit the summit you can either continue down to Lyttelton, continue on the Crater Rim Walkway, catch the gondola back down or trek back down the path.

Rapaki track

3.5 km to top

Approximately 45 minutes one way

Dogs allowed on leash

Gradual incline

One of Christchurch’s most popular tracks for hikers and mountain bikers. At the top you have views Lyttleton Harbour. On the way back down there is fantastic views of the city, alps and ocean. At the top it is optional to continue on to other Port Hills walks.

Godley Heads walk

7km track

2-3 hours for whole walk (common for people to just to do sections of this track)

Dogs allowed on leash

Gradual incline

Park at Taylor’s Mistake beach car park or top of Godley Heads car park and start off there. This is a coastline track and offers stunning views the whole way of the harbour, alps and peninsula. You can turn off down to Boulder Bay which has historical baches and beautiful flowers in the summer. Along the walk is also a WWII site with gun emplacements, old military buildings and tunnels.

If you’re lucky you may see penguins, dolphins and even whales get spotted here.

Crater Rim track


2-3 hours return

Dogs allowed

Gradual incline with steeper areas

This track begins on Sign of the Bellbird (Summit Road) and finishes at Ahuriri Reserve. There is a lot of native forest on this track and has breathtaking views of Lyttelton Harbour waiting at the end! This track leads you to Omawete/Coopers Knob, which is the highest point of the Port Hills.

Harry Ell walkway


1.5-2 hours return

Dogs allowed

Gradual incline

Another popular Christchurch track. Harry El walkway is a well maintained track and located at Victoria Park and finishes just before Sign of the Kiwi. This track leads you through native vegetation which finishes at Summit Road with stunning harbour, city and Southern Alps views. This walk can easily be shortened or lengthened, by starting at any point past the initial starting point or continuing on a short loop around the Sign of the Kiwi or going up Sugar Loaf.

Washpen Falls

2.4km loop track

1 hour drive from Christchurch

Approximately 2 hours return loop track

No dogs allowed

Gradual incline with steeper areas

Located on a high-country farm there is much to see on this hike, glorious bush covered valleys to a stunning waterfall and near the end of the track is a small moss covered lake with a row boat. There is a picnic area and BBQ at this lake and is great spot to have lunch. As it is a private walk there is a $10 fee, $5 for children.

Devil’s Punchbowl

Arthurs Pass

2km return

1 hour return

No dogs allowed

Gradual incline with steps

This walk starts at the at the Punchbowl car park just north of Arthur’s Pass village. It has stunning views of beech forest, surrounding alps and finishes at a viewing platform of a 131metre waterfall. It is common you will hear or see Kea on this track.

Hooker Valley track

Aoraki/Mt Cook

10km return

2.5 hours return

No dogs allowed

Flat gradient

If you feel like venturing further South, Hooker Valley is highly worth the long drive. Trek through three swing bridges with endless views of alpine streams, glaciers and it’s common to hear/see avalanches on this track.

The walk finishes at the beautiful Hooker Lake with Aoraki/Mount Cook in the background.

Every aspect of this walk is a photo opportunity. This walk is truly spectacular and will not disappoint!


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