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The Governator, Canterbury

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The GovernatorIntermediate - Experienced

Submitted by Tony Sharpe

Info Info
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Trail Information







Urban fringe



Native bush
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops

Intermediate - Experienced

2:15 (Slow)
1:45 (Moderate)
1:15 (Fast)



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The hills behind Governors Bay hold one of the best kept secrets in Christchurch - a myriad network of interconnecting steep, gnarly tails that provides rewards in spades for anyone seeking a hard workout. This one is NOT for those seeking to hit cruise mode and glide across fast easy trails. This one is for those technical trail junkies who just can't get enough vert.

From the carpark trot up the hill to the stile and hop over to descend Faulkners Track. Keep going downhill until it pops you into a bushy area. Drop a bit more altitude and you'll reach a signposted fork - take the left fork marked North Boundary. This track will provide a juicy little loop back up to near the top of Faulkners and get your uphill legs ready for later. It can be a bit sketchy and overgrown through here at times, but its still pretty straight forward to follow.

Eventually you'll loop back round to familiar territory near the top of Faulkners. Head back down again for a second time but at the fork in the bush this time head right and take a sidling descent down into the houses at the top of Governors Bay. Follow the short bits of road and connecting tracks down through Lighthouse Lane to the main road. Head right on the main road to the Governors Bay Hotel. Pick up the road behind the pub and head up to a connecting trail and gravel road section which takes you out onto which Bay Heights Road, which you cross to find the entrance to the Titoki Track on the bend.

The Titoki Track is awesome, climbing pretty steadily and occasionally steeply up through native forest. At about 320M above sea level the Titoki ceases, hang left onto the South Boundary Track for a short bush undulating sidle and then ride the Watlings Track all the way back up to the Crater Rim. Next you need to head west a few hundred metres along the Crater Rim and take the signposted Bush Road Track all the way down to O'Farrells. Carry on down further- you ain't done with the downhill yet... the short Kanuka Track will loop you down and back up further round O'Farrells. Note the orange markers in the Kanuka section, if you get lost go back to the last marker.

Straight across here pick up the wonderful Bivvy Track which will take you all the way back up yet again to the Crater Rim. Take note that Bivvy Track is less defined but marked with spraypaint on the trees but if you lose the trail just keep heading up, the bush is nice and open and wonderfully technical. At the top return to the car east along the Crater Rim and 360 Trail for a well earned break.

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Features of interest

The most BRUTAL 10Km of vert to be found on the Port Hills. If anyone ever tells you Christchurch is flat... send them to this! Native bush, Steep trails, Sumptuous views.

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 0%

Technical Single Track: 75%

Moderate Single Track: 20%

Sealed Road: 5%

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

The Guv'nor & His Birds

The Guv'nor & His Birds

Length: 16.00km

The Crater Rim

The Crater Rim

Length: 27.90km

Takahe Half

Takahe Half

Length: 21.10km

Bird to Bird

Bird to Bird

Length: 9.80km

Port Hills Protocol

Port Hills Protocol

Length: 32.00km

O'Farrells For Shore

O'Farrells For Shore

Length: 11.50km


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Carpark on Summit Road at Entrance to Hoon Hay Reserve

    Room for a few cars, usually not too busy.

    12 km

    25 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Take a map or GPS option as there's a myriad of trails and options for alternate routes here.

    Perfect throughout.

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

    No taps, streams often dry. So BYO water supply, you'll be wanting a fair amount!

    In the wet these trails reach another level of tecnhical. Wear your best grippy soles in here.

    Theres a risk you'll get addicted to vert in here and want to add more loops on to the west for e.g. Cass Ridge Track.

  • Post run indulgence

    Governors Bay Hotel
    Main Road Governors Bay
    Great food and beer

    She Universe Cafe
    Main Road, Governors Bay
    Chocolate, coffee and great food

    Protocol Bar
    Bottom of Cashmere Hill
    Beer and feed on the town side of the hills

  • 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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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
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Dog Sniffing Rhythms - Harbour Crusin'
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Port Hills Protocol
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Spitting Distance
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Beginner's Adventure Park Loop
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Pinecone Pirate - Waitākiri/Bottle Lake Forest Park
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