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Little Learner Loop (Halswell Quarry) , Canterbury

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Little Learner Loop (Halswell Quarry) Beginner

Submitted by Renee Lyons

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Trail Information







Urban fringe


Undulating, small hills only

Open farmlands


0:30 (Slow)
0:20 (Moderate)
0:15 (Fast)



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Starting directly beside the small toilet block in the main carpark take the narrow gravel track up towards the rangers hut approx 15m away. Signposted outside the hut is left to the inner quarry, right up the quarry rim. Take that right, and follow the wide, stoney path as it weaves sharply up to the top. You will see a variety of side tracks as you go - any of these can be chosen, and won't take you more than a few metres from the main path - but allow you to mix it up a bit!

As you reach the top you will pass three viewing platforms, complete with information boards and views over the quarry. There are water fountains at the 3rd one along, incl. a dog drinking station. You will cut back into the bush - a short zig zag, and then a small set of stairs, before a 100m or so of flat path (which can be muddy depending on rainfall.) You will come to a junction with a farm ahead + pedestrain gate, and the track to the left. Head through the gate into the paddock (NB: DOGS ON LEASH ONLY - if you have a dog that is not stock friendly take the left track and this becomes and out and back rather than a loop :) ) Once through the gate you can chose to go left around the hill on a shorter flat track, or head straight ahead up the hill. Once on top you'll see a few options for paths down the far side - all go to the same place, but you can mix it up from wide mown grass to narrow single track to steep and rocky.

At the bottom of the hill you'll see another gate and the option to go straight, or right. Take the right hand path, which winds down hill through an an Australian plantation. At the bottom, you'll come to the third and final gate - once you come through, take a hard left running along the fence line straight up a narrow dirt track, following it up and over to the right as you reach the top. You'll find yourself in a small seating area - take a left at the picnic table and you'll find yourself back on the main track (if you have taken the left hand path to avoid stock, this is the turn around point for the out and back).

Follow the wide path as it winds back up the hill, passing the gate where you looped off the first time, and back up the stairs and zig zag to the quarry rim. From here it is the reverse - along the top, past the viewing platforms, and down the hill to the ranger station, and back to the carpark. You've done it! This is awesome for a beginner or someone on limited time - some variety in terrain, some nice little hills, and in a public well used area so no concerns about being lost, or your personal safety. In spring, the trail is particularly lovely, with loads of colourful lupins bordering the track, and good views clear across the city.

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Features of interest

You will be running around the upper edge of the Halswell Quarry, which operated for approx 130 years providing stone for many historical buildings around Chch, (ie the Museum and Arts Centre). There are several information boards, a couple of historic buildings, and the odd relic from quarry days to view. Down in the garden area are a handful of sister city gardens - notably Japanese and Korean gardens. There is a large, flat dog park with small pond for the swimming puppers (nb: depending on rainfall it may be signposted not to swim for their safety). You will pass 4 Geocache on this trail (accurate as of Aug 2018)

Make Up of Run

Moderate Single Track: 10%

Easy Single Track: 90%

Route Data


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  • Access

    Turn into the main carkpark of Halswell Quarry - through the stone gates. Follow the road past the historic stone building and coffee cart, until it opens out into a large carpark - this is a good place to park. Look for the small toilet block on the edge of the carpark. The trail starts directly beside it.

    Ample safe parking.

    11 km

    20 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Perfect throughout.

    Lightweight fleece top, Windproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, First aid kit, Cellphone.

    There is a water fountain at the start of the run (outside the toilets) and a second water fountain directly next to the track on the crater rim.

    Cold wind along the top in bad weather; can be muddy on exposed parts of the track after rain; short run through stock (sheep).

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