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Sometimes a tight schedule or other commitments restrict you to shorter walks, walks 3 hours or under. Located along Lake Coleridge in the Canterbury region, only a 90 minute drive from Christchurch is the Peak Hill Track. This challenging yet rewarding walk is definitely one to add to your list if you find yourself with a spare morning or afternoon and crave some fresh air and a challenge.


A detailed description of how to get to the trailhead isn't overly necessary for this walk as its rather easy to locate, and like always I'll make it super easy for you by providing a quick link for your Sat Nav below. It's located only a 90 minute drive from Christchurch heading west inland, following main sealed roads until the last 7kms give or take. Sealed roads are then exchanged for farm style gravel all the way till the car park. Drive slower along this stretch of road as the changing of livestock from one paddock to another is a some what daily occurrence for the local farmers in this area.

Click on this for the direct Google Map link for your Sat Nav.


Distance: Approximately 8.5km (There and back via the same track).

Estimated time needed: 3 Hours depending on how many photos you take and how long you spend at the top. Roughly 2 hours up and 1 hour down.

Difficulty: This track has it all in regards to gradients. Some super steep parts towards the summit and at the start, with more moderate parts throughout so it's hard to grade it accurately. I would say with confidence though it's moderate to difficult, fitness it definitely required.

Elevation Gain: Approximately 800m.


The Peak Hill Track itself doesn't have a 'car park' as such but more of a grassy area next to a fence line to pull your car off the road. You'll know you're at the right spot as you'll see an official DOC sign signifying the Trial head. As you get out of your car and look across the paddock you are greeted by the sight of Peak Hill directly in front of you.

The track itself, starts in the car park then weaves its way up along the ridge lines.

The walk itself starts by climbing the fence into the paddock, you're told to follow the fence line around the field to the start of the climb. In my honest opinion the beginning of the walk is probably the most challenging part as you gain elevation rather quickly.

The steep start.

The ground under foot can be rather precarious in patches so watch your step. Depending on the weather, the track can sometimes be totally covered by a frequent annual dumping of snow. Look out for the official orange markers that lead the way up the side of the hill.

After approximately 40 mins of steep climbing you reach the first ridgeline, here it flattens out partially before dropping down again. Along the ridgeline there are rather steep drops on both sides so take care when making your way along the track.

This walk is littered with false summits, so expect a few descends and climbs while making your way up to the real summit. There are lots of safe opportunities to stop along the way up and down for a 'water break', more like in my case 'catch your breath break'.

Walking along the precarious ridgeline.
All smiles on the way up.

The summit is a sight to behold! The 360 degree panoramic views from the top are absolutely breath taking. Be sure to have your warm clothing on hand when you get to the top. It's almost guaranteed that you will have dropped some layers off as you climb towards the summit, however! The wind and air temperature at the summit can be surprisingly cold, even in summer so make sure you rug up again to enjoy the views of Lake Coleridge and the surrounding mountain ranges in comfort.

Views from the summit!

On the topic of weather. One blessing with these typical Canterbury back country walks are how open they are, meaning unobstructed views of the surrounding topography. This is however a curse as well. This walk is VERY exposed to the elements. In winter you are punished by the cold winds and in summer you are smashed with direct sunlight as there is no shade anywhere. Be mindful of these conditions when thinking about this track. Bring sunscreen, sunnies and a hat in summer and rug up warm in winter. On both occasions...bring a S**t tonne of water! Overall get your boots on and get out there, the views and sense of achievement at the end are worth it.


Thank You for reading


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