Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Location Lat/Lon: 43.58934°S / 172.71590°E
Activities Activities: Hiking, Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing, Bouldering, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 1637 ft / 499 m
Sign the Climber's Log


The 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.
Lyttleton HarbourLyttleton Harbour

Getting There

By 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.


The 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.

Port Hills Major Summits
Mountain Elevation (m/ft) Latitude Longitude Picture
Mount Pleasant 499m/1,637ft 43.588423°S 172.726707°E
Sugar Loaf 496m/1,627ft 43.603306°S 172.648977°E
Castle Rock 456m/1,496ft 43.585209°S 172.702396°E
The Tors 453m/1,486ft 43.590906°S 172.697187°E
Mount Cavendish 445m/1,460ft 43.589336°S 172.715904°E
Note: This table may not include all summits in the area.


There 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.
Track MapPort Hills Walking Tracks: Click for a larger version

Port Hills Walking Tracks
Track Length Description
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
Note: Times are approximate and can vary from person to person. They are based on an average person's pace starting from the top of the Gondola.


Pioneer Women s MemorialPioneer Women's Memorial

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.

Gun Emplacements
Along the Crater Rim Walkway there are remnants of a World War II heavy anti-aircraft battery.

Rock Climbing

There 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).

Port Hills Climbing Areas
Area Difficulty Type # of Routes
Rapaki 5.4-5.12 Trad 31
The Tors 5.2-5.10c Mostly Sport, Some Trad 36
Castle Rock 5.4-5.11a Trad 183
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
Mount Pleasant 5.3-5.10a Trad 92
Note: This table if far from complete. If you have more info please help me with this section

More route info can be found at

External Links

Christchurch Gondola
Christchurch Weather