Best Christchurch Walks

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Our guide to some of the best short and medium walks in Christchurch

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Christchurch offers a number of great walks, just as you would expect from a destination known as the ‘Garden City’.  Riverside walks, harbour walks, beautiful park walks and coastal walks are just a snippet of the types of tracks visitors and locals can enjoy. 
We’ve picked out some of the best short to medium Christchurch walks to explore.
Halswell Quarry Walk
Once Halswell Quarry stopped production in 1990, the Quarry was re-developed and now features six gardens and a botanical garden.  The unique park covers 60.4 hectares and includes water features, statues and lovely short walks.   
Walk Time:  Various walks range from 5 - 50 minutes.
Start:  The car park off Kennedys Bush Road.

Styx Mill Walk
The Styx Mill Conservation Reserve provides a haven for birds and plants along the Styx River just north of Christchurch.  The reserve covers around 57 hectares following the river for a little over a kilometre and a half.  Visitors can experience a peacful stroll in the quiet natural environment of the reserve.  There are 10 species of freshwater fish, approximately 46 bird species to be seen and an important spawning ground.   A viewing platform is a good place for bird and fish spotting.

Walk Time:  Various walks including the main walk ‘Panako Walkway’ which takes around 40 minutes.
Start:  Hussey Road carpark.

Hagley Park Walk
Hagley Park is a large expansive park centrally located in Christchurch that covers 165 hectares and is at the heart of Christchurch life.  The park was created in 1855 by the Provincial Government.  At the heart of the park is the Botanic Gardens which begun in 1863 and are an oasis in the city.  The 21 hectares showcase trees, ponds, tropical flowers, horticultural displays, conservatories, memorials, garden art and various walking tracks.
Take a walk alongside the beautiful Avon River, enjoy spring flowers in the Woodland area, view the Peace Bell, and visit Central Rose Garden and Conservatories before taking the Armagh Footbridge back to the carpark.
Walk Time:  Various tracks link North & South Hagley Park with the Botanic Gardens at the heart.  The full loop walk is around 7km and will take 2 hours.
Start location:  The carpark off Armagh Street is a god start point.

Sign of The bellbird Walk (Ahuriri – Crater Rim)
This walk offers gorgeous views over the city to the Southern Alps.  The Ahuriri Reserve is a compact area of bush hidden away on the Plains side of the ridge and features some good examples of old native trees.  Head along the Summit Road to the saddle on the south side of Cass Peak Reserve.  A cattle grid marks the point where you can leave the road to access the track.
Walk Time: 3 hours. 8km return.
Start: Sign of the Bellbird or, Summit Road.

Victoria Park Walk
Victoria Park on the outskirts of Christchurch atrracts outdoor activity enthusiasts with a wealth of walks and thrilling mountain bike tracks.  The park was first planted in the early 1880s, and it was officially opened in 1897 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, after whom the park is named. 

The  'Harry Ell Walkway' offers panoramic views of the city, the Canterbury Plains, the Southern Alps and Pegasus Bay.  It's a 3km walk from Sign of the Takahe to the Sign of the Kiwi which takes around 45 minutes.   From Sign of the Takahe, walk up the well maintained track and through a combination of native and exotic woodland before emerging on Summit Road.  Another 100 metres and you’ll reach the Sign of the Kiwi where there is a water fountain and toilets.  Return the same way, or link up with Thomsons Track or Bowenvale Valley Track to get back to Victoria Park.

Walk Time: 1.5 hours. 6km return.
Start:  Various entry points. A good option is the car park at the Victoria Park Visitor Centre.
Rapaki Walk
Although this walk includes some steep parts, the effort is rewarded with impressive views of the city, estuaries, ocean and panoramic views of the Banks Peninsula at the top.  This is a popular walk for families.  At the top, Summit Road links to other walking tracks if you want to extend your walk. 

Walk Time:  2 hours. 7km.
Start:  Park on Rapaki Road or nearby. 
Bridle Path

This a fairly steep track but it’s well worth it as you’ll gain beautiful views of Christchurch, the Southern Alps, Lyttelton Harbour and the Banks Peninsula.  What’s more, you can rest your legs with a number of bench seats on the way up and there is a stone shelter at the summit to commemorate the pioneer women of Canterbury.  There is a bus (#28) connecting Lyttelton and the city if you only fancy going one way.
Walk Time:  2 Hours. 4.8km return.
Start:  Either the Bridle Path car par (below the Gondola) or Lyttelton from Bridle Path road.

Taylor’s Mistake to Godley Head Walk
This is one of the region’s most iconic walks because of the eye-catching city, harbor and ocean views.   Along the route, historic military buildings can be explored. It’s a well maintained track with a few steep sections.

Walk Time:  3 hours. 7km return.
Start:  Either start from the car park at the end of Godley Head Road or, the car park at Taylors Mistake beach.

Southern Pegasus Bay Walk

This walk follows the dune landscape of New Brighton and Spencer Park.  From the track, you’ll enjoy some memorable views.  Start your walk at Broad Park in New Brighton and walk along the forest trails of Bottle Lake until you arrive at Spencer Park Surf Club.
Walk Time:  3.5 hours. 14.5m (one way)
Start: Broad Park or Spencer Park Surf Club.

Onawe Track

Close to Akaroa, 90 minutes drive away is the Onawe Track, a fantastic short walk along the Onawe Peninsula.  All along the 3.1 km walk you'll enjoy incredible views of the Akaroa Harbour and surrounding hills.  More info in our guide to the walk.

Walk Time:  1 Hour
Start:  Onawe Flat Road, Near Akaroa

More Walk Info:
For more information on parks where many of the walks feature, visit our ‘Gardens and Parks’ section.
Check out the Christchurch Council website for details on cycling route maps, latest track status and more.