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The North Faces, Canterbury

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The North FacesBeginner - Intermediate

Submitted by Corey Woodward

Info Info

Trail Information

24.80km

1200m

1200m

 

Canterbury

Christchurch

Urban fringe

Loop

Very hilly

Native bush
Plantation/exotic forest
Open farmlands
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops
Volcanic

Beginner - Intermediate

6:00 (Slow)
4:00 (Moderate)
3:00 (Fast)

-10.0%

+10.0%

The farm track through Tussock Hill Farm may close for lambing in line with other farms on the Port Hills, didn't see any signage to this effect though.

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Description

Starting at the Sign of the Kiwi, head over Dyers Pass road and up onto Mitchell's track. Keep running along the Crater Rim, past Rapaki track and down the Bridle Path.

Near the bottom of Bridle Path turn left into the car park by the Tunnel Firefighting Water Tanks, through a couple of farm gates and then make your way around the bottom of Tussock Hill farm. When you get to the Woolshed, go through the deer gate to the right of the shed (don't head down the hill), make your way up the valley towards Rapaki Track.

Depending on recent rainfall you may get damp feet on this section. The 4WD farm track makes a hard right switch-back. This is your turn - head straight up the hill. The gate to Rapaki Track is a very welcome sight at this stage! Cross over Rapaki Track immediately opposite the gate and you'll pick up a trail that gets you onto the Mt Vernon Valley Track.

Towards the bottom of Mt Vernon Valley take the Marette Taylor Track on your left. Follow this towards the city. At a fork take the left option up hill onto Dry Ridge Track. Once at the ridgeline, hang a left and head up to get onto the Mt Vernon Farm Track. Follow this until just before a tarn (pond) where you will head slightly right on a very lightly used narrow trail which takes you to a shelter overlooking Dry Bush Valley.

After a brief pause at the shelter drop down the hill and slightly to the right to cross over the Dry Valley Track and into the Huia Gilpin Reserve, look out of the hidden waterfall at this point. Slog your way up the reserve to meet up with the Huntsbury Track, which you will follow uphill (almost to the Summit Road) until a turnoff on your right to Bowenvale valley, zig zag your way down into the valley.

As you cross the stile into Bowenvale give yourself a pat on the back for completing a half marathon and contemplate the final climb(s) of the run. Head up to the top of Victoria Park (there's multiple ways, don't stress if you can't follow the route exactly, pick one and watch out for downhill bikes). Once at the top, drop back to Sign of the Kiwi via Thomson's Track. Easy!


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Features of interest

Volcanic outcrops, expansive views from the tops, patches of native forest, tussock lands, and a working farm.


Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 15%

Moderate Single Track: 32%

Easy Single Track: 11%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 30%

Gravel Road: 12%


Route Data

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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Start from the Sign of the Kiwi

    Park up the Summit Road a bit from the Sign of the Kiwi carpark as that is now P60 and you'll be running a bit longer than that!

    10 km

    20 minutes

    No

    No

  • Staying Safe

    Moderate.

    Following the description should be enough but take a printed version of the trail map to assist.

    Generally good.

    Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.

    There are a couple of drink fountains in Victoria Park but you'll have done most of your huffing and puffing by then so carry plenty of water.

    The weather can change very quickly along the crater rim, carry appropriate clothing for all conditions. Sun protection in summer is essential, it can get very hot in the valleys.

    Around the bottom of Tussock Hill Farm the farm track has quite a few sink holes forming, be vigilant!

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