This hike is on the outskirts of Christchurch, about a 40 minutes drive. I generally do this hike to this hut, but from a different start point called Kaituna Valley. I was curious about the hike from this direction and took the opportunity yesterday as my usual hiking partner was down hiking one of NZ’s Great Walks this Easter weekend. Highly recommend NZ’s Great Walks, I have done a couple and there’s more on that bucket list of mine.
So generally I found this hike to be a bit of a ramble. Through tussocks and forest land and very up, down. I was quite uncertain at times what I was actually ascending or descending as I really couldn’t tell what I was doing more of. I became clear on the return trip that I had mostly ascended! Oh yes, this hike is a route, not a circuit so if you need your car to get home, you need to come back through this track.
I spent quite a bit of time in the forest, there were lots of lovely native birds and one of my favourites the fantail (piwakawaka is the maori word). They chatter away to you in squeaks and as much as you think they’re your forest friend (and they are), they are really hanging with you in the hope your boots will dig up a delicious bug platter from the dirt below. They are lovely to watch.
I also came across a little private hut surrounded by very well looked after native bush. Someone’s wee getaway from civilisation.
Anyhow after sometime I was keen for the forest to spit me out. I was ready for some visuals of where I was, how far I’d come, how much more there was left to go and another gander at the scenery. Finally that came and along with high winds given the altitude there was a lovely day with lovely views over the peninsula looking back at the Christchurch hills and harbour.
Downfall: Our summer has been spectacular (bonus) but it has dried everything to the bone. It is brown and dry and has been for quite some time. Some farmers are losing stock due to this long dry summer, it’s really sad. As much as we have basked in the sun day after day this summer, we do yearn for a rainy day sometimes and those green rolling hills. Unfortunately it’s brown lumpy hills for this hike. But still a lovely hike none-the-less.
After being spat out from the forest I think it was about 15-20 mins to the hut. A nice jaunt to the saddle in which the hut lies. Next year the hut celebrates 100 years. More about Packhorse Hut here
It was an 1 hour and 30 minutes to the hut. I did stop and take several photos and I’m not the fastest hiker around. It took me the same back but again I stopped and took photos and stretched my legs for a good 10 minutes.
There are several hikes that continue from the hut. As mentioned previously you can come up different tracks and then also continue further to more huts and higher summits.
That’s one fantastic thing about NZ, we have huts everywhere for your hiking needs and pleasure. Some seriously old and some beautifully new. I’m proud of the systems we have set up to nuture human beings love for the greta outdoors.
In all, an ok hike. It’s great for families or people who don’t like to constantly ascend and enjoy the wee descents inbetween to catch their breath. Bring back the green rolling hills…maybe a rain dance is in order..
Enjoy the photos. I will endeavour to take my actual camera next time and not only my iPhone.