Moderate tramping day trips around Christchurch

When I think about moderate to moderate/hard day trips that I’d like to lead for the Christchurch Tramping Club, I often find myself going through the same peaks repeatedly. Here is a list of those peaks, which may prove useful to other trip leaders as well, so I’m including everything I can think of. This list is a work in progress and certainly doesn’t encompass all possible routes, peaks, and combinations, but it should feature the most classic moderate CTC day trips.

Where you see the “exposure” note, you may want to bring a helmet.

Arthur’s Pass area

  • Avalanche Peak (1100m up, nearly no exposure, Scott’s track is easier and provides a good descending route)
  • Blind Spur (1500m up, very long day, a lot of variations possible, Bruce Stream is doable all the way)
  • Blimit
  • Cassidy
  • Goat Hill
  • Goat Pass (1000 m ascent, 28 km, many river crossings and long in quite moderately challenging terrain for a day trip)
  • Mid Hill (1200m up, long slog across tussocks from Lagoon Saddle, great tarns suitable for camping below the top)
  • Mt Aicken (1200m up, exposure)
  • Mt Bealey (1100m up, very limited exposure, good for trampers who want to step up from marked tracks, taking the scree down to Rough Creek provides a great loop; see Avalanche peak above for Bealey-Avalanche traverse)
  • Mt Binser (1500m up, long day, some scrub bash may be involved on the way down)
  • Mt Bruce (1000 m up, follow the Cass-Lagoon Saddle track and go up whenever you feel like (see the first link below))
  • Mt Foweraker (1300m up, no exposure but unstable rock at places, a long day if doing a loop via Sudden Valley)
  • Mt Misery (1200-2000m depending on the route taken)
  • Mt O’Malley (1100m up, minimum exposure if avoiding the main ridge)
  • Mt Philistine (1100m up, some exposure over Warnock bluffs spur but it looks harder than it is)
  • Mt Scott
  • Mt Temple
  • Mt White (1200m up, 12 km, quite a decent day out, permission needed)
  • Mt Williams
  • Mt Wilson
  • The Pyramid (1200m up, no exposure on the way up but there is a gnarly bit around pt1565, great scree down to Sudden Valley)
  • Woolshed Hill

Banks Peninsula

  • Mt Herbert
    • from Diamond Harbour (1000m up, this can be done with Lyttelton Harbour as a meeting place to include a fun ferry ride, note track starts on the beach next to the ferry terminal)
    • from Kaituna Valley (1000m up, interesting that you bag Packhorse Hut as well)
    • from Orton Bradley (1000m up, my favourite way up, check opening hours of Orton Bradley carpark before you go, bagging Packhorse on the way back and taking Faulkner’s track create a good loop)
    • from the Monument (500m up, quite a fun and unusual way, it’s possible to walk up the road from the ferry terminal, the road’s usually very quiet – in this case, it’s 1000m up)
  • Mt Bradley via the Eye of the Needle (if done with Mt Herbert, 1100m up, 19 km, wee scramble required)
  • Mt Fitzgerald (lovely line, add Rod Donald hut to get 1000m up and 23 km)
  • Lyttelton to Lyttelton kind of thing (2300m up, 42 km – a long way but lovely line)

Canterbury foothills

Craigieburn’s area

  • Baldy Hill
  • Hamilton Peak (1000-1500m up depending on the route taken)
    • via Camp Saddle (1200m up, some crumbly rock but fun ridge for beginners on moderate terrain, no exposure but could be handy to have a helmet for steep rocky stuff)
    • via Nervous Knob (fun easy ridge, no exposure)
  • Izard (1200m up, best via Eastern ridge, easy but long climb, no exposure)
  • Mt Cheesman (1200m up, doable via pt1552 but more efficient to take the route via the stream and pt1552 to avoid difficult terrain, no exposure but the ridge between Cheesman and Izard is hard, better to descent 100m to the other side and go around)
    • Izard to Cheesman (1500 m ascent, a decent day out, probably the most adventurous traverse in Craigieburns, not exposed but a little bit crumbly)
    • Cheesman to Hamilton (2000m ascent, pretty big day out but very fun, flat ridge )
  • Mt Cloudsley
  • Mt Cockayne (best via Cheesman, Hamilton Peak or Cheesman Ski Area, no exposure)
  • Mt Enys (best via Cloudsley, easy ridge travel, no exposure but descending via Dead Man Spur can get tricky – steep and scree is mixed with bluffs, easiest is to drop down to Whitewater Stream between 1900-1700m ridge contour, no exposure but some scree slopes may be really steep with unstable rock and I’d bring a helmet for that)
  • Mt Olympus
  • Mt Wall

Lake Coleridge area

  • Big Ben
  • Black Hill (2000m climb, very long day, no exposure)
  • Gargarus
  • Godley Peak
  • Mt Ida (1350 m climb, a decent day out, very steep at places, permission’s needed)
  • Mt Oakden
  • Steepface Hill
  • The Spurs (2000m climb, long day, exposure on crumbly rock, permission’s needed)

Lake Sumner

  • Top of the Ladder
  • Jollie Brook Circuit (600m up, 30 km, straightforward, slightly overgrown track, good winter fun)

Lewis Pass area

  • Garnet Peak (1200 m up, bushbash through the forest, no exposure)
  • Lucretia
  • Mons Sex Millia (1600m up from Boyle Village across Garnet Peak, big day out but worth it, no exposure)
  • Mt Faust (1300m up, scenic and close to Christchurch, a good cut track from Boyle Village, no exposure)
  • Mt Garfield (1500m up, hidden track in the bush, scenic, no exposure)
  • Mt Lucia
  • Mt Norma (1300m up, straightforward with cut track to the ridge, a decent day out)
  • Mt Technical (1600m up via Lewis Tops, a big day but doable, perhaps 6 am start from Christchurch, exposure)
  • Sylvia Tops and Devils Den Biv (1500m up, 26 km, no exposure but really long day)
  • The Apprentice (1200 m up via Lewis Tops, vague track leads to the top, no exposure but steep)
  • Travers Peak (1000m up, good steady climbing, minimum exposure), good track up through the bush, no exposure)

Mt Somers / Hakatere

Torlesse Range

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