Port Hills 8-AttackBeginner - Intermediate
Submitted by Simon Dunlop
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Undulating, some big hills
Native bushPlantation/exotic forestOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/topsVolcanic
Beginner - Intermediate
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From the carpark on the Victoria Park Road (opposite dog exercise area), head down the Tawhairanui Trail, popping onto the road and back to the trail before emerging on the road again at the 19th Battalion Memorial and cross the road and go up the wide shingle road with the gated entrance.
Continue along here, past the trail junction and water fountain to follow the Latters Spur track just to the left of the main ascent straight ahead. Rejoin the main ascent and keep left at the fork to go up some broad steps, passing through two spring gates.
Follow the orange poles and then just before Summit Road, hang a right onto Thompsons Track. Follow this / Summit Road around to Sign of the Kiwi. Take the Coronation Reserve trail up the steps to the left of the café and then continue on the Crater Rim to the Hoon Hay Scenic Reserve carpark.
Cross the stile and head uphill to cross another stile. Straight ahead is Faulkners Track. This is a gem of downhill switchbacks – take some time to stop and enjoy the view down Lyttleton Harbour and marvel at the steepness of the hill face below.
Continue on Faulkners all the way to the bottom – watch for the right hand turn to stay on this track about 2/3 of the way down. When you exit the track onto sealed road, look straight across the road for a timber and corrugated iron fenced set of steps down and carry on with a further short section of trail here. You will arrive back on the road and continue to a dead-end where you will see faint wear on the grass at the right-hand side – follow this and continue down the rough road to the main road through Governor’s Bay.
Suck up some pavement to get around to the fire station on Earnest Adams Drive (watch out for yellow signs pointing to fire station and Ohinetahi tracks). Turn right and go past the fire station. The road veers right (Bay Heights) - on the bend, look for a track on the left side through the grass / bush where there is a slightly hidden gate labelled “Titoki Track”. Continue for a short while on Titoki until it forks and take the left-hand track (Ngaio).
First serious dose of vert here! Eventually Ngaio connects back with Titoki - follow this and then continue straight to carry on to South Boundary. This track is akin to passing through the wardrobe into Narnia – this is one of the highlights of the run, with canopied bush conditions typical of many of Governor’s Bay’s best tracks: gloomy lighting courtesy of old Five Finger canopy and dusty leaf litter mixed with roots and rocks underfoot. Thereafter it gets a little more like hard work.
Ignore Duke Street on your right and carry onto Bush Road. This elevates you, at times quite steeply, back up to the Crater Rim. Turn right at the top and after coming down to road-level keep an eye our for a right turn onto the Trig V detour to gain some extra vert and some more stunning harbour views.
Back over the stile to Hoon Hay Reserve and continue on Crater Rim all the way to Sign of the Kiwi. Cross Dyers Pass Road here to the steps heading up the hill (Sugarloaf) in front of you. Take the 2nd right – Gilpins Track – for some more leg trashing vert before catching your breath in some lovely shady bush. Pop out onto Summit Road, crossing the road and stile and heading right on the Bowenvale Traverse. Great views down the valley and Bowenvale Ave to the City.
Next is some good old quad smashing downhill – veer left to take the wide swathe of grassy track that is the Bowenvale Valley track. After a few hundred metres, watch out for the trail marker that guides you left to stay on the Bowenvale Valley Track. You now get some flowing and smashable single track – watch for the next junction where you need to take a right. Cross a couple of footbridges to come out on the wide shingle trail / road.
On approaching a large grove of tall pine trees look for a track to the left (there are two entrances if you miss the first, which is not actually named). This is the East Side Bush Track that elevates you back up to Victoria Park. Pass through shady pine, fir and macrocarpa trees, eventually giving way to Eucalypt and native shrubs as your vert clock heads past 1,000m.
Keep an eye out for the first critical turn – a right hand turn firstly after a set of wooden steps, then left at the next junction, then right again to head back up into the trees. You are almost there when you see a set of stone steps to your left that pop you out in the main Vic Park carpark.
Go up the sealed road straight/left – look out for the trail into the bush on your right not far past the corner. Head down and take a right at the first juncture to continue back to the starting point on the Tawhairanui Trail.
Features of interest
Governor's Bay trails / Ohinetahi Reserve provide great views, superb techy trails, and a lot of vert! Bellbird and Grey Warbler song if you are lucky
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 30%
Moderate Single Track: 30%
Easy Single Track: 30%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 5%
Sealed Road: 5%
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
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In the carpark on Victoria Park Road, opposite the dog exercise area.
If car park is full, the main carpark just further on usually has some space. Can bus from central city to Sign of the Takahe, with a short walk into Victoria Park.
Easy to head straight on Faulkners when you need to go right - read the wooden signs when you go through track intersections.
The gate into the Titoki Track in Governor's Bay can be easily missed when running onto Bay Heights a little way past the fire station.
The entrance to Eastside Bush Track from the valley floor - it is a narrow rocky entry. If you take the 2nd entrance, keep left (right will take you out to Bowenvale Ave).
Take care to follow the right / left / right on Eastside Bush Track.
Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
Water available at Sign of the Kiwi (good to refill here before going onto Sugarloaf / Gilpin's Track)
Can get pretty cold on the tops any time of year in a southerly or strong easterly. Some parts of the run will be slippery / muddy after rain e.g. Bowenvale downhill, Governor's Bay tracks.
Take care on steep descent on Faulkners, especially the initial switchbacks.
Can be gorse and blackberry intrusion on the Governor's Bay tracks.
Take care crossing Governor's Bay main road after coming down Faulkners - the bend is quite blind.
Post run indulgence
Sign of the Takahe Cafe / Bar
200 Hackthorne Road
Handily close, good menu and licensed premises
Sponsor this trail
See other runs nearby:
Godley Head loop
Lyttelton to Diamond Harbour
Halswell and Kennedys
The Bowenvale Elevator
The Gorsetrack Strikes Back
Rapaki Sugarloaf Return
Sign Of The Takahe - Rapaki
Port Hills Nearly Half Marathon
Sumner Half Heads
Whigs' Flying Fifty (WFF)
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
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
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
Port Hills Spur Challenge!
Up Hill Down Valley
The Coffee Run
Pour Some Sugarloaf On Me
Never Trust A Crocodile
Holliss Stairway to Heaven
Diamond, Herbert & Fitzgerald
Barnett Bunker Buster
The Pipeline of Pain
Mt Vernon Farm Track
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
Canterbury Agricultural Park Loop
2 Sugars, 2 Vernons & a Half Shot
Quail Island Looping
The Chairlift Choice
Tussock Hill Ridge
Mt Pleasant Elevator
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
Living Springs Loop
Springing Around Longhurst
Lady Isaac Loop
The Missing Link
Beer Bum Bluffs
Brooklands for the Birds.
Styx Pick Me Up
Shoeing the Horse
Beginner's Adventure Park Loop
Clan of the Cave Runner
Morgans Baa Baa Loop
Mary Had a Little Lamb
Pinecone Pirate - Waitākiri/Bottle Lake Forest Park
Takahe to Taylors