Posted by Bella Vista on
With a Garden City reputation to uphold, beautiful walks in Christchurch are plentiful and varied. From the well-groomed paths in Hagley Park to the windswept tracks traversing the Port Hills, these free Christchurch activities are suitable for all fitness levels. We’ve done the hard yards by rounding up the city’s five best walking tracks, including a few with delicious food along the way.
The Bridle Path to Lyttleton (1 hour 30 minutes one-way)
For the full Port Hills monty, leave your car at the Christchurch Gondola carpark and walk up the steep Bridle Path - a favourite amongst fit Christchurch locals - towards the Gondola station. Here you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the city, the golden Canterbury Plains and pristine Southern Alps. Grab a refreshment at the summit’s Red Rock Café before descending towards Lyttleton on the Bridle Path. Imagine walking in the footsteps of the early settlers, who would ride a horse or donkey over the Port Hills to Christchurch. Rather than endure an arduous boat ride around the coast.
Once in Lyttleton, check out the quirky Spookie Boogie for the best coffee, sweet treats and hidden garden setting, in this historic hillside village. A short ride on the number 28 bus back through the Port Hills tunnel, will return you to the Gondola carpark.
The Stan Helms Track to Lyttleton - from the Gondola station (30 minutes one-way)
Your express option is to take the Christchurch Gondola up to the summit, then walk downhill towards picturesque Lyttleton on the Stan Helms Track, a short walk from the Gondola’s summit station. Head west along the Crater Rim Walkway and take the track after the Bridle Path. The one-kilometre track zigzags down to the end of Harman’s Road, where 15 minutes later you’ll reach Lyttleton. This easier option will keep the family happy (and preserve the legs) before hopping on the 28 bus back to the Gondola carpark.
Harry Ell Track (2 hours return)
Another popular walk in the Port Hills, this 2-hour loop from the Victoria Park Visitor Centre is one of those tracks which provides big rewards for very little effort. Despite its gentle incline, you’ll get surprising views of the city and Alps, discover the Memorial site of the 19th Infantry Battalion and possibly spot beautiful Kereru (wood pigeon) in Victoria Park. One of the best hill-top places to eat in Christchurch is the Sign of the Kiwi café. Locals give five-star reviews for its stunning views, great coffee and delicious food.
The City Promenade along the Avon River (1 hour return – without stops)
This awesome 4-kilometre walk is designed to showcase the must-see activities in Christchurch. Highlights along the way include the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, the Bridge of Remembrance, the Christchurch Arts Centre plus vibrant bars and cafes. You may even chance upon lovers dreamily punting up the Avon River past draping leafy trees. This track is the perfect way to discover local life at the heart of Christchurch, including the delightful Margaret Mahy playground.
Godley Head to Taylors Mistake (2 hours return)
We had to include a superb coastal walk on our ‘best walks of Christchurch’ list.
The Godley Head Coastal Walk follows Taylors Mistake Beach before climbing to the Head, once a wartime defence battery. Take in the surfing action of Taylors Mistake, panoramic views of Pegasus Bay, the Kaikoura mountains and the North Canterbury hills. Sometimes even dolphins and white flippered penguins make an appearance. From Godley Head, you’ll see Lyttleton Harbour, Banks Peninsula, and the Pacific Ocean. Given its high ratio of insta-worthy views, this well-formed track is one of the most scenic walks in Christchurch.
So pack your walking shoes and drink bottle because Christchurch is a great place for trailblazers and nature-lovers. Ask the Bella Vista Christchurch team for information on free activities, places to eat and wonderous walks. We’ll happily provide the latest weather report and point you in the right direction.