OverviewThe Port Hills are a portion of the Banks Peninsula and form the northern rim of one of the three volcanoes that created the Peninsula. The city of Christchurch has grown into these hills making them a popular weekend destination for locals and tourists looking to enjoy the outdoors. The South Island of New Zealand was originally inhabited by the Maori people. In the 1800s Europeans began settling in the area. In 1992 a Gondola was built taking people from the base of the hills to the top of Mount Cavendish.
Getting ThereBy car: From the center of Christchurch head south on Durham, Colombo, Manchester or Barbadoes St, then turn left into Moorhouse Ave. Follow Moorhouse Ave until it becomes Ferry Road. Continue along Ferry Road through Waltham and Ferrymead, then turn right onto Bridle Path Rd. Follow Bridle Path Rd until you see the lower terminal of the Gondola, just before the Tunnel Rd exit.
By bus: The city also runs buses every day, departing every 15 minutes. There are two bus routes what will get you to the Gondola and the cost is only $2.80. Bus No. 28 departs from Platform D on Colombo St. and Bus No. 35 departs from Platform D at the corner of Colombo St and Cashel St Mall. Check the local listings for current bus timetables.
MountainsThe Port Hills have a number of summits along the northern volcano rim. The table below lists all the major summits in the area. There are some smaller unnamed summits not listed here.
TracksThere are many popular tracks in the Port Hills. Most are easy but some are steep and require a moderate fitness level. Longer multi-day tracks can be found on the Banks Peninsula. The map located in the upper Gondola terminal can be seen below and shows all the tracks listed in the table below.
|Bridle Path||1hr one-way||Returns to the base terminal of the Gondola, or descends into Lyttleton|
|Crater Rim Walkway||2.5 hr return||Views of Lyttleton Harbour, Christchurch, and the Canterbury Plains|
|Cavendish Bluff Lookout||30min return||Views of Lyttleton Harbour|
|Pioneer Women's Memorial Track||1hr return||A walk along the ridge to the Pioneer Women's Memorial|
|Chalmers Hill Track||1.5hr one-way||Connects the Crater Rim Walkway to the Major Hornbrook Track|
|Major Hornbrook Track||1.5hr one-way||Begins in Lyttleton and gain access to the upper ridge|
At the summit of Mount Cavendish the top terminal of the Christchurch Gondola. At the summit is a gift shop, a cafe, and a ride describing the history of the area. The Gondola is open 10am to 9pm daily with the cost of an adult ticket being $24 NZD.
Pioneer Women's Memorial
This small stone building is a memorial to the early settler women that arrived in this area in the mid-nineteenth century. It is located just off the summit road with a parking area nearby. There are two plaques, the original plaque and another "Centennial" plaque.
Along the Crater Rim Walkway there are remnants of a World War II heavy anti-aircraft battery.
Rock ClimbingThere are over 1200 sport and trad routes in the Port Hills. The climbs are on Basalt and provide climbing for beginners to more advanced climbers. The climbs range from 7 AUS to 32 AUS (5.0 YDS to 5.13d YDS).
|Area||Difficulty||Type||# of Routes|
|The Tors||5.2-5.10c||Mostly Sport, Some Trad||36|
|Castlestop||5.4-5.10c||Mostly Sport, Some Trad||72|
|Britten Crag||5.7-5.11b||Mostly Sport, Some Trad||233|
|Albert Terrace||5.6-5.10c||Mostly Sport, Some Trad||17|
More route info can be found at Rockclimbing.com
External LinksChristchurch Gondola