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Boulder Dash, Canterbury

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Boulder DashIntermediate - Experienced

Submitted by Brion Matthews

Info Info
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Trail Information







Urban fringe


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush
Plantation/exotic forest
Open farmlands
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops

Intermediate - Experienced

4:45 (Slow)
3:45 (Moderate)
2:30 (Fast)



A handful of tracks on this are noted closed due to rockfall post Christchurch Earthquake. However are fairly well maintained by Rangers and busy locals and are heavily frequented. Enter at own risk.

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This is a Port Hills tour of a few favourite 'closed' tracks. They are well frequented, and considered safe, but please enter at your own risk.

Jump the culvert through to the empty section directly opposite Paisley Street and head to the rear left of the section. There is a little track cut here that winds up to the Old Captain Thomas Track. Carry along this uphill. Note the Ngaio tree with the white tag on it - you'll pop out somewhere around here at the end if you're lucky.

Carry on through several gates until you join the top section of Captain Thomas. Follow up to Evans Pass road and take the steps up the Mt Pleasant Bluffs track that follows the ridge to the Gun Emplacements. Jump the 'track closed' sign and work your way along the closed section of the Mt Pleasant Bluffs track. Careful footing required, but plenty of trees to act as hand holds. Pop out at Summit Road and follow this around onto the section closed to cars.

After approximately 400m of road we are squeezing behind the metal car barrier to your right and joining onto an obvious but unnamed track leading down the ridge into Scott's Valley. This is very steep, rocky, and slippery when wet so take care. Take a right onto the traversing track around Scott's valley and a little while after a farm gate, at a junction take a downwards leading track and follow past the old Heathcote Quarry.

At the next junction head upwards and along and then through a set of stairs that connect onto Kenton Track. Follow Kenton Track until you reach a stile onto Longridge Drive. Head down Longridge Drive and onto Mt Pleasant Road until you reach a bend with a sneaky little laneway (Cragieburn Lane) to your right and into Drayton Reserve Track. Follow the whole way down to McCormacks Bay.

Follow McCormacks Bay road, then Main Road until you reach Barnett Park. Grab water here from the fountain if needed. Stay to the right side of the field and head up the valley, taking the right most mown tracks until you reach another 'closed track sign'. Head up to the cave through some rocky sections and climb the stairs into the cave. Take care is this stairway has seen better days. Minus 5 points for not ascending to the cave.

Head back down the valley until you connect with Eastenders track and take this up until you hit the gravel road. Cross this directly and head up through tussock until you reach the Frog Pond mountain bike track. Take a left onto the track and follow until you reach Revalation Drive. Instead of crossing the stile, go downwards and around until you come to a gate that pops up through a reserve into Richmond Hill Road. Go straight across the road, through a pedestrian laneway and to the end of Richmond Hill Road. This is where the route takes a turn and heads off-piste. If you prefer, head down Richmond Hill Road and around till you connect to the start.

For those after a bit of nonsense, the goal is to head down between a set of bluffs through tussock and scrub until connecting back onto the Old Captain Thomas Track. Essentially you need to head down a gully and aim slightly up valley of a large single pine. Make sure there is the large bluff to the left and head down the notch between this large bluff and another to your right and towards the stand of ngaios. Be very careful and take this as slow as you need.

List of tracks below for reference: Old Captain Thomas (Closed) - Captain Thomas Mt Pleasant Bluffs-  Mt Pleasant Bluffs (Closed Section) - Summit Road Unnamed Track - Scott's Reserve Track (Closed) - Heathcote Quarry Track (Closed) - Kenton Track -  Longridge Drive/ Mt Pleasant Road - Drayton's Reserve Track - McCormacks Bay Road/ Main Road - Cave Track (Closed) - Eastenders Track - Frog Pond Track - Off-piste Scramble. 

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Features of interest

Mt Pleasant Gun Emplacements. Old Heathcote Quarry.

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 8%

Technical Single Track: 22%

Moderate Single Track: 30%

Easy Single Track: 7%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 19%

Sealed Road: 14%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each

Gang of Four

Gang of Four

Length: 15.70km

Trinity - Harbour Bruisin'

Trinity - Harbour Bruisin'

Length: 20.10km

Gates Of The East

Gates Of The East

Length: 14.00km

Mt Pleasant Elevator

Mt Pleasant Elevator

Length: 11.80km

Beer Bum Bluffs

Beer Bum Bluffs

Length: 9.50km


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Corner of Wakefield Ave and Paisley Street in Sumner.

    Park down Paisley Street.

    14 km

    24 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Generally good.

    Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map, Gaiters.

    Fountain at Barnett Park.

    Parts muddy after rain.

    Bluffs in last section.

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