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VKV challenge, Canterbury

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VKV challengeIntermediate

Submitted by Mike Steel

Info Info
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Trail Information







Urban fringe


Undulating, small hills only

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


1:50 (Slow)
1:25 (Moderate)
1:00 (Fast)



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A short but pumping circuit that takes you over Mt Vernon, Sign of the Kiwi and Mt Victoria. Has a bit of everything (bush, panoramic views, steep ups and downs, and cruisy ridge running) -- the "challenge" part is to see if you can do this in one hour or less.

From the car park, run to the end of the gravel road, then up steep trails (or steeper shortcuts) to join the upper Huntsbury 4WD track to the main road and then one last direct shortcut to Mt Vernon summit. Stop the watch, climb onto the rock and admire the views! Run back along the Crater Rim Walkway which takes you over three small bumps and some native bush on the Lyttelton side to Sign of the Kiwi, then run down the popular (Harry Ell) track beside Dyers Pass road; cross the road to Victoria park, and continue on the Harry Ell track until you meet some steep steps going down.

At this point sidle right and follow a track directly up to Mt Victoria, passing by the octagonal visitor centre, and round to the right to pick up the descent track. This heads down (north) for 10 metres then loops back to the south, heading down. After about a minute (by a short orange Walkway marker on the left of the track) leave this trail and dive left down through the trees on a faint trail and pick up steep, dusty mountainbike trails through the trees wherever possible - the valley floor is just a few minutes away with careful routefinding, mostly off the main trails (which will take longer). You will eventually come out on a 4WD road, which leads back to the end of the original gravel 4WD road and back to the car park.

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Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 5%

Technical Single Track: 15%

Moderate Single Track: 30%

Easy Single Track: 30%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 10%

Gravel 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

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

Bowenvale / Huntsbury Loop

Bowenvale / Huntsbury Loop

Length: 11.20km

Gondola Gallop

Gondola Gallop

Length: 11.30km

Lava - H.ELL Loop

Lava - H.ELL Loop

Length: 10.30km

Port Hills Spur Challenge!

Port Hills Spur Challenge!

Length: 18.50km

Vicki Vale

Vicki Vale

Length: 9.25km

Port Hills Protocol

Port Hills Protocol

Length: 32.00km

The North Faces

The North Faces

Length: 24.80km


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Starts and ends at the Bowenvale valley carpark

    Plenty of parking (safe) at end of Bowenvale - also for bikes too.

    7 km

    16 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .

    Mostly on well-marked tracks. On the way up, some shortcuts on faint trails up the side of the hill help (if they are not overgrown).
    On the way down through Victoria Park routefinding is more of a mission (i.e. you won't get seriously lost, but if you want to do this in under an hour you'll probably need a few tries probably to find the right lines!).

    Generally good.

    Whistle, First aid kit, Cellphone, Map.

    Water at Sign of the Kiwi

    Crater Rim Walkway section behind Sugarloaf can get pretty greasy in winter or after heavy rain.

    Watch for mountainbikers on the 4wd section near the start/finish, especially on weekends.

  • Post run indulgence

    Fava Cafe
    236 Centaurus Rd
    Excellent food and coffee

  • 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)
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
Port Hills Spur Challenge!
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
Tai Tapu - Sacred Boundary
Blackhill Hut Buster

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