Distance

4 Miles

Elevation Gain

2066.9 Feet

Activities

Hiking

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Type

Out-and-Back

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Lake
River
Scenic

Peak Hill is a hidden gem about an hour from Christchurch. The summit views rival many of those in much more popular South Island locations, but without the crowds.

Rising about 600 meters from the Canterbury Plains, Peak Hill offers everything New Zealand is famous for: a steep climb to get your heart pumping, views of a gorgeous lake (Coleridge), ever-changing weather, views of the Alps, and views of wide, braided rivers. It is well worth sticking with the hike all the way to the top where you are rewarded with views to the Northwest of the broad Rakaia River (yes, the same one with the longest-on-the-South-Island bridge closer to Christchurch), the split to the Mathias River, and the Wilderforce River Valley. 

The 4-mile round-trip hike is located right next to Lake Coleridge. Lake Coleridge is easy to locate on any map, but save a map off the DOC site map (http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-a...), make sure to load the GPS coordinates of the trailhead into your phone, or have a paper map on hand -- cell service is quite spotty in this area. Also be sure to bring everything you need, you can't just pop down to the corner store. There is a small parking area just next to the gravel road, with a DOC sign. The hiking part was about 3 hours round trip for our family plus guests, moving at a steady but not especially quick pace. 

The route is well-signed with orange-tipped stakes. It starts on an easement across a farm, then climbs steeply up to the ridge. The climb to the ridge has some loose gravel, slippery dirt, and pokey plants. Once gaining the ridge, the exposed route follows the ridgeline over a few hillocks to the summit. 

With a clearing sky, the wind picked up during our hike, and with six girls 11 and under, we considered turning back at a small saddle along the ridge. Fortunately, the girls opted to continue. We found the last part of the climb to be a pleasant grade, quite enjoyable, and for some reason slightly less windy. Worth going to the top -- you can't see the 360-degree views until you're at the summit and they are stellar! 

We did find the wind to be very stiff on the descent, but the walking went quickly.  Careful on the steep pitch from the ridge to the farm! The scenery on this hike just doesn't quit. Even the last section back to the car park presents a layering of eye candy -- green crops and fields, evergreen wind breaks, backed by the steeply rising hills towards Mt Hutt. 

Community Photos

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Distance

4 Miles

Elevation Gain

2066.9 Feet

Activities

Hiking

Skill

Intermediate

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Type

Out-and-Back

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