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Lyttelton Semi-Circle, Canterbury

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Lyttelton Semi-CircleBeginner - Intermediate

Submitted by Tony Sharpe

Info Info
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Trail Information







Urban fringe


Very hilly

Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops

Beginner - Intermediate

1:15 (Slow)
1:00 (Moderate)
0:45 (Fast)



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This is a shorter version of the Lyttelton Dress Circle Loop also on the directory, that cuts out the Mt Pleasant bluffs for a speedier return to home base.

Park up on London Street and head out around Cunningham Terrace which loops you onto Voelas Road. Start the hill grind on Voelas and pick up Harman. On the bend you'll spot the gas pipeline coming down. Here you will find the Stan Helms track which zig zags and climbs fairly steeply all the way to the top where it joins up with the summit of the Bridle Path. Its an awesome grind up the hill.

From the top pick up the Crater Rim Trail as it heads east up to the Gondola Top Station. This is the summit of Mt Cavendish, and the high point. You could well and rightfully be tempted to pop in here and soak up the views or even grab a refreshment. In fact a great variation to this loop is to start/ finish at the Gondola and have a cold one at the end.

Follow the trail to the harbour side of the building and descent into the saddle. Here you need to turn south and look for the Major Hornbrook Trail that descends steeply back down the hill to Lyttelton suburbia. Its a fast descent, but be warned it is very greasy in the wet and for most of winter - not a place for town tyres and certainly a great section to test out your nice knobbly trail runners. Major Hornbrook bottoms out on Ross Tce where you hang a left and then a quick right to descend the road back down to the main street.

Mission complete!

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Features of interest

Mt Cavendish and the Gondola Top Station
Great views of Lyttelton and surrounds
A couple of lesser travelled but nice technical trails

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 50%

Moderate Single Track: 40%

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

Gondola Gallop

Gondola Gallop

Length: 11.30km

Gang of Four

Gang of Four

Length: 15.70km

Trinity - Harbour Bruisin'

Trinity - Harbour Bruisin'

Length: 20.10km

Lyttelton Dress Circle

Lyttelton Dress Circle

Length: 9.00km

The Pipeline of Pain

The Pipeline of Pain

Length: 5.20km

Beer Bum Bluffs

Beer Bum Bluffs

Length: 9.50km


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Park up on London Street and rip into it

    Buses operate from town to Lyttelton. Plenty of on street free parking around

    13 km

    19 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Tracks are pretty obvious but watch out that you go the right way at junctions

    Perfect throughout.

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


    Trails can be very greasy here after rain and in winter.

    Watch out for the odd rockfall. There was one major slide down Major Hornbrook in the 2011 quake that caused a tragic fatality, but its all pretty stable now

  • Post run indulgence

    London Street
    Check out lots of places in the main street of Lyttelton for refeshments

    Christchurch Gondola
    Summit of Mt Cavendish
    great food and drinks and a sensational view

  • 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
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Whigs' Flying Fifty (WFF)
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Bottle Lake Blue Loop
Gebbies to Packhorse Romp
Hagley Figure of 8
Bowenvale / Huntsbury Loop
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Okuti to Hilltop Amble
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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
Lyttelton Dress Circle
A Diamond in the Rough
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The Coffee Run
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Diamond, Herbert & Fitzgerald
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