The 10 Best Hikes in Christchurch

Looking to explore some new hikes in the Christchurch area? We’ve put together a range of our favourite hikes in Christchurch, so you can easily pick a new adventure that suits you!

Hikes in Christchurch 

Crater Rim Walkway

Crater Rim Walkway - Hikes in Christchurch

Traversing the volcanic hills that dominate the Christchurch skyline, the Crater Rim Walkway offers 20km of stunning views. For fit walkers it is possible to complete the hike in one day, though most people tend to do it in sections. 

A good section to start on is a return hike from the Sign of the Kiwi to Sign of the Bellbird. The Sign of the Kiwi Cafe offers a delicious lunch whilst overlooking the city of Christchurch. 

Alternatively, just drive in any direction along Summit Road and select one of the many car parking bays as a starting point. 

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Time: Varied

Taylors Mistake to Godley Head

Taylors Mistake to Godley Head - Hikes in Christchurch

A bracing coastal walk that starts at Taylors Mistake, a local surf spot. From the beach, wander along the cliffs listening to the crashing waves below, to the gun emplacements at Godley Head. If you are lucky you may spot some penguins nesting against the shoreline, or a pod of dolphins swimming by. The walk is also a good opportunity to learn some local history from the informational signs about the military emplacements and also the historic baches (beach houses) at Boulder Bay. 

When you reach the end at Godley Head car park, you can either return via the same track or continue the Godley Head walkway loop via the Crater Rim Walkway. 

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 3 hours return

Old Halswell Quarry Rim Track

Old Halswell Quarry Rim Track - Hikes in Christchurch

The Quarry Rim Track is one of the more well-known Christchurch hikes and is a fairly short loop. The quarry itself is an interesting local feature, but from the top of the track you get a great view over to the Southern Alps. This makes for a great post-work hike to take in the sunset. 

To extend this hike to a 2-3 hour return, the Kennedy’s Bush Track starts at the quarry and steadily climbs up to Summit Road.

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 40 minutes loop

Coastal Path Lyttelton

Coastal Path Lyttelton - Hikes in Christchurch

Located in Lyttelton, the Lyttelton Coastal Path hugs the water of the banks peninsula. Offering a different perspective across the water with the hills towering behind you, the coastal trail is a short but picturesque walk. Accessed either from Lyttelton, Magazine Bay or Corsair Bay, the path winds along to Pony Point Reserve.

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 1.5 – 2 hours return 

Urumau Loop

Urumau Loop, Lyttelton - Hikes in Christchurch

The Urumau Loop starts from Lyttelton and involves a steep, scrambling ascent up to the rim. This hike has continual views over Lyttelton harbour and the banks peninsula, and an incredible vista over Christchurch and Sumner from the top. 

Difficulty: Moderate

Time: 3.5 hours loop

Rapaki Track

Rapaki Track - Hikes in Christchurch

The Rapaki Track is potentially the most popular hike in Christchurch. The track starts at the bottom of the hills and follows a gradual incline up to Summit Road. The walk up offers views into the valley and over Christchurch, and finishes looking over Lyttelton Harbour and the craggy peaks of the Banks Peninsula. Expect more traffic on this track than on the others. The hike can easily be extended by continuing along the Crater Rim walkway, or by making the short hike to the summit of Mount Vernon.

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 2.5 – 3 hours return

Hikes Around Christchurch 

If you’re willing to go a bit further afield, these are our favourite hikes around Christchurch and are all within an hour or so drive. 

Mount Herbert

Mount Herbert - Banks Peninsula Hikes, Hikes Near Christchurch

As the highest point on the Banks Peninsula, Mount Herbert can be done as either a full-day or a shorter hike. 

For the shorter hike, follow the Monument track that starts on Purau-Port Levy Road, and for the longer hike, start from Diamond Harbour and follow the Mount Herbert track up to the summit. 

Both hikes will have you ascending to the peak of Mount Herbert through sheep-strewn farmland that boasts beautiful views across the banks peninsulas and to the Southern Alps beyond. 

Note – the track is closed between August 1st and October 15th for the lambing season. 

Difficulty: Short hike – Moderate, Long hike – Hard

Time: Short hike – 3 hours return, Long hike – 6 hours return

Coopers Creek to Ryde Falls

Coopers Creek to Ryde Falls - Hikes Near Christchurch

Situated just outside of Oxford, Coopers Creek is a lush bush hike which culminates in a tiered waterfall. The track provides views over the Canterbury Plains and the Southern Alps, and Ryde Falls is a truly impressive waterfall. This is a great option for a cloudy day when the views of the mountains may be obscured!

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 5 – 6 hour return

Trig ‘M’ 

Trig M - Hikes around Christchurch, Hikes near Castle Hill

Trig ‘M’ can be accessed from two spots: 

  1. Coach Stream (on SH73 pull off to the left at the beginning of the Porters Pass road climb) requires a longer 10km hike, taking you through shrubland and including a steep ascent. Wear good footwear as this route can get quite waterlogged. 
  2. Starvation Gully (on the Lake Lyndon side of Porters Pass) is a 6km slightly easier option. 

The hike to Trig ‘M’ rewards you with an incredible 360° panorama taking in the Craigieburn Range, Foggy Peak, Christchurch and Banks Peninsula, the Big Ben Range, Lake Lyndon and Mount Lyndon beyond.

Difficulty: Moderate

Time: 3 – 4 hour return

Rakaia Gorge

Rakaia Gorge - Hikes Near Christchurch

This 10km return track has multiple viewpoints overlooking the blue, glacial rivers and mountains beyond. The track meanders through shrub and forestry, before traversing the edge of the gorge. Toward the end of the track you will come to some historic coal mines where mining equipment remains are hidden amongst the shrub. 

This amazing scenery starts right from the outset, so can easily be turned into a shorter, easier hike without missing out on the most impressive views. 

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 3 – 4 hour return

Remember…

Whenever you are hiking anywhere in New Zealand, it is important to research the route beforehand to find out how you should be equipped and to make sure the track is open.

The 10 Best Hikes in Christchurch

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