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Lyttelton Dress Circle, Canterbury

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Lyttelton Dress CircleIntermediate

Submitted by Tony Sharpe

Info Info
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Trail Information







Urban fringe


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops


2:00 (Slow)
1:30 (Moderate)
1:00 (Fast)



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This is kind of a well kept secret....but the secret is out now! Come and run the crest of hills above Lyttelton Township and discover all manner of treats, and then sit back with a cold one at the finish and look back up to admire your handiwork.

Starting in Lyttelton township outside the library, head west along London St to Bridle Path Road. Drop onto Cunningham Terrace to access Lyttelton West and then head right and up hill on Voelas Rd to reach Harmans Rd. Head straight up Harmans to a sweeping corner where you will pick up the Stan Helms Track, where the LPG Pipeline comes down off the hill. Stan Helms was a former Lyttelton Councillor and Deputy Mayor- hope over the style and begin your steady zig zagging trail in his name as it heads up into the hills. Stan Helms gradually steepens towards the top with a mix of stairs and short breathers, and eventually you top out where the Bridle Path crests the Summit Road.

Catch your breath and then pick up the Crater Rim Trail behind the Pioneer Women's shelter, and head towards the Mt Cavendish Gondola- the high point of this circuit. Stay on the Lyttelton side of the hill behind the Gondola building and follow the 360 Trail/ Crater Rim Track down to a saddle under Mt Pleasant.

Next is one of the highlights of this run, head towards the base of the bluffs right in front of you and you'll pick up the gem that is the Mt Pleasant Bluffs track. The next couple of km's is a wonderland of native bush, dripping rock overhangs and nice technical undulating trail. Its relatively hard work along here but well worth it. Mind the odd stinging nettle and gorse bush.

Once you emerge from the Bluffs track get back on the Crater Rim track east of the Gun Emplacements. Follow down the hill until you reach a style. DON'T hop the fence, instead you want to pick up an unmarked but fairly obvious trail that heads out along the ridge that juts out east of Lyttelton Township. Follow this trail down and round rock outcrops, largely staying on the ridge for a wonderful decent. Eventually you'll reach the new Uramau mountain bike track which you can use to descend back down to the top of Gilmour Tce. Swing around to Randolph Terrace and descend the stairs of Watsons Lane down to Sumner Road to access Lyttelton township and a well earned beverage.

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Features of interest

Mt Pleasant Bluffs and native bush
Sweeping views of Lyttelton Harbour and Christchurch City

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 30%

Moderate Single Track: 40%

Easy Single Track: 20%

Sealed Road: 10%

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

Lyttelton Semi-Circle

Lyttelton Semi-Circle

Length: 5.70km

Tauhinu-Korokio TKO

Tauhinu-Korokio TKO

Length: 4.90km


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Start/ Finish on the main street of Lyttelton shops

    Bus service runs from town to Lyttelton if needed. Plenty of parking otherwise

    13 km

    19 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Take care not to miss the start of the Bluffs track at the saddle. Don't ascend mt pleasant on the crater Rim Trail, this will make you miss the best section of all under the bluffs.
    The section back down into Lyttelton from the Gun Emplacements is not formally marked, but is an obvious easy to follow trail along the ridgeline

    Generally good.

    Long-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Cellphone, Map.


    Muddy after rain, especially under the bluffs. Being the Port hills, expect some wind from some direction most days- can be pretty cold and wild in a winter southerly.

    A few prickly gorse and stinging nettles under the bluffs, but nothing too serious.

  • Post run indulgence

    Lyttelton Coffee Co
    London St
    Great coffee

    London St
    Great quirky bar overlooking the port

    Civil and Naval
    London Street
    Great craft beer

  • Sponsor this trail

    If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities, please get in touch below:


See other runs nearby:

Godley Head loop
Lyttelton to Diamond Harbour
Halswell and Kennedys
Summit Walkway
The Bowenvale Elevator
The Gorsetrack Strikes Back
Rapaki Sugarloaf Return
Sign Of The Takahe - Rapaki
Port Hills Nearly Half Marathon
Horse Longitudes
Horse Latitudes
Sumner Half Heads
Whigs' Flying Fifty (WFF)
VKV challenge
Banks Peninsula Ultra Beer Run
Bottle Lake Blue Loop
Gebbies to Packhorse Romp
Hagley Figure of 8
Bowenvale / Huntsbury Loop
Avon City Loops
Avon - Source to Surf
Okuti to Hilltop Amble
Gondola Gallop
Orton Bradley Loop
The ATH (Around The Harbour)
Lava - H.ELL Loop
Travis Wetland Loop
Punk Rock Assault On Windsor Castle
The Guv'nor & His Birds
The Crater Rim
Lava Lite
Takahe Half
North New Brighton Spit
Mt Pleasant Trig
God's Con - Rehab Road
Gang of Four
Dog Sniffing Rhythms - Harbour Crusin'
Trinity - Harbour Bruisin'
Gates Of The East
Hunting Out A Gorge-ous Loop
A Diamond in the Rough
Port Hills Spur Challenge!
Up Hill Down Valley
The Coffee Run
Pour Some Sugarloaf On Me
Never Trust A Crocodile
Lyttelton Semi-Circle
Hagley Perimeter
Holliss Stairway to Heaven
Diamond, Herbert & Fitzgerald
Barnett Bunker Buster
The Pipeline of Pain
Mt Vernon Farm Track
Vicki Vale
Heathcote River Run - Opawa to Hoon Hay
Christchurch 360 Trail - Sugarloaf Hills Section
Little Learner Loop (Halswell Quarry)
Bird to Bird
Port Hills Protocol
O'Farrells For Shore
The Governator
Heathcote Meander
Spitting Distance
Montgomery Loop
Canterbury Agricultural Park Loop
2 Sugars, 2 Vernons & a Half Shot
Quail Island Looping
The Chairlift Choice
Tussock Hill Ridge
Mt Pleasant Elevator
McLeans Meander
Girdle the Groynes
Governator 2 - Judgement Day
Christchurch 360 Trail - Godley Cliffs Section
Westmorland Wetland Time Trial
Loopy in Siberia
The North Faces
Westmorland Hill Reps
360 Trail - Dunes Wetlands Section
Rocking Gibraltar
Dune Bugging
Hey Sisters!
Living Springs Loop
Springing Around Longhurst
Lady Isaac Loop
The Missing Link
Beer Bum Bluffs
Brooklands for the Birds.
Surf's Up!!!
Styx Pick Me Up
Orton Odyssey
Shoeing the Horse
Tauhinu-Korokio TKO
Double Top
Beginner's Adventure Park Loop
Boulder Dash
Clan of the Cave Runner
Taiora Track
Landfill Lark
Morgans Baa Baa Loop
Mary Had a Little Lamb
Horsing Around
Port Hills 8-Attack
Pinecone Pirate - Waitākiri/Bottle Lake Forest Park
Takahe to Taylors

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