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Port Hills Spur Challenge!, Canterbury

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Port Hills Spur Challenge!Intermediate

Submitted by Tony Sharpe

Info Info
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Trail Information







Urban fringe


Very hilly

Native bush
Open farmlands
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops


3:00 (Slow)
2:30 (Moderate)
2:00 (Fast)



Open - You can easy bypass the gorge tree removal closure by taking dry ridge track.

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Looking for a Port Hills run with as much vert packed in as you can? Well this one will probably get you over 1000m of vert quicker than anywhere in the area. This one is designed for the slightly masochistic among us who want no tarmac, no flat and lots of ups and downs.

The run starts in St Martins and plays across 4 major spurs of the Port Hills (hence the title). Head over the gate/ stile at the road and head for the bush. Immediately take the left hand turn over the creek and head up onto the Mt Vernon Farmpark spur. Wind your way up to the 4WD track and cross it, heading up the Dry Ridge Track. Crest the top of the spur and then follow its natural loop back down and round to where you just were - this small loop may seem odd at the time but it's a nice warmup and serves its purpose in getting the vertical into 4 figures by the end.

Head back up the 4WD Farm Park trail when you get back to it and ascend to higher up the spur, this time dropping down again and over the other side on the rest of the Dry Ridge Track to reach the Valley Track. Head up here a short way through wonderful regeneration to pick up the Rodgers Track which will access the well known Rapaki Track.

Ascend Rapaki all the way, cross the road and get onto the Crater Rim trail as it ascends all the way to the top of Mt Vernon. Stop, catch your breath and take in those 360 degree views. From Mt Vernon follow the Crater Rim along the lumps and bumps all the way towards the Sugarloaf - and ascend to the mast and trig via the steep formed but unmarked goat track up the east side. Here you will be at the high point for the circuit, but don't panic, your uphill is far from complete.

Descend Sugarloaf and go down Latters Spur all the way to the Victoria Park Playground area where you keep heading down the East Side Bush track until you reach the Bowenvale Valley floor. Keep going down valley on a short stretch of new trail built to separate bikers from those on foot.

Next job is the long steady ascent up onto Huntsbury Spur, initially up the Hidden Valley track and Pylon Track, onto the Zigzag until you meet up with the 4WD track on the top.

Almost there - sort of. Descend Huntsbury until nearly at the tarmac. Look for a stile and poles off to the east for a nice technical section down into Dry Bush valley. Stay in the valley floor here and head out the Gorge track for a wonderfully varied finish to a fairly epic 18km's!

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Features of interest

Port Hills
Fantastic views
Nothing flat!

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 30%

Moderate Single Track: 30%

Easy Single Track: 30%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 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

Rapaki Sugarloaf Return

Rapaki Sugarloaf Return

Length: 15.00km

Sign Of The Takahe - Rapaki

Sign Of The Takahe - Rapaki

Length: 13.00km

Whigs' Flying Fifty (WFF)

Whigs' Flying Fifty (WFF)

Length: 50.30km

VKV challenge

VKV challenge

Length: 10.00km

Gondola Gallop

Gondola Gallop

Length: 11.30km

Lava - H.ELL Loop

Lava - H.ELL Loop

Length: 10.30km

Up Hill Down Valley

Up Hill Down Valley

Length: 10.80km

Mt Vernon Farm Track

Mt Vernon Farm Track

Length: 7.40km

Vicki Vale

Vicki Vale

Length: 9.25km

The North Faces

The North Faces

Length: 24.80km


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Park up at the end of Albert Terrace and rip straight into it

    Plenty of parking on the roadside

    5 km

    13 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Take a map and the GPX file if you can, there's plenty of track junctions on this one.

    Generally good.

    Lightweight fleece top, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.

    You'll want lots of water, especially in summer. There are a couple of taps to fill up around Victoria Park.

    Can be greasy and muddy in places after significant rain - if so you won't want to be in your 'town tyres'

    Look out for mountain bikes in the areas that are shared use, especially Bowenvale

  • Post run indulgence

    Brickworks on Centarus Road
    nice cold beers and a good range of tucker

  • 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
Lyttelton Dress Circle
A Diamond in the Rough
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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