New Zealand is home to some of the world’s most stunning landscapes, some of which have made it to the big screen in blockbusters like the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But why settle for marvelling at the panoramic views of lush greenery and craggy cliffs from a TV screen? At these nature walks in Christchurch, you can step right into the mystical frame and explore the wild environment in all its glory.
1. Crater Rim
Port Hills, Christchurch 2004, New Zealand
Duration: 1.5 hours
Here is where you’ll get to be dazzled by some of the most dramatic volcanic landscapes New Zealand has to offer. The Crater Rim walk takes you on a scenic route that starts from Godley Head and bypasses the magnificent azure waters of the volcanic crater lake Lyttelton Harbour. Further on, following the Rapaki Track route will take you through the extensive tussock grasslands, which offers an unforgettable view of a peaceful hillside scenery. Ahead, you’ll also get to see the impressive volcanic rock formations known as the Tors. The terrain isn’t too challenging, either – locals consider it to be of medium difficulty.
2. Kennedys Bush
Kennedys Bush, Christchurch 8025, New Zealand
Duration: 20mins–1 hour
Wildlife lovers will love this route for sure. Kennedys Bush carries historical significance regarding New Zealand’s biodiversity – it’s the first scenic reserve in the country. There are multiple trails of varying lengths available that will take you through the hills and give you ample opportunities to spot some of the native bush birds that live in abundance there.
3. Gotley Head Coastal Walk
Sumner, Christchurch 8081, New Zealand
Duration: 3 hours
This is one walk you shouldn’t miss if you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of wildlife and witness some historical landmarks. The walk begins at the Godley Head carpark and takes you on a relatively flat, easy to navigate path through the Kaikoura mountains and hills of North Canterbury. The path also provides a marvellous view of the Pegasus Bay. Near the start of the trail at Godley Head, you’ll also pass by some World War 2 military installations that will give you some perspective into how Christchurch looked and functioned in the past. This path is a tad longer than the others, at about 7km for the entire loop, so if your stamina isn’t too good you may want to avoid this.
4. Bowenvale Valley
Bowenvale Ave, Cashmere, Christchurch 8022, New Zealand
Duration: 1-2 hours
One of the most accessible trails in Christchurch, the Bowenvale Valley path is suitable for cyclists and pet owners – there’s a nearby dog park at Victoria Park, a kilometre up from the track. The uphill climb may be tough but the bird’s eye view it offers of the surrounding landscapes of city, coastline and ridges is unforgettable.
5. Bridle Path
Bridle Path Road, Ferrymead, Canterbury, Christchurch 8022, New Zealand
Duration: 1.5-2 hours
Those up for a good challenge will love the route this 3km path takes. The track itself throws you straight into the raw clutches of nature, with rough and uneven surfaces and zig-zagged uphill paths. Christchurch is an active fault zone area where earthquakes frequently occur, and the Bridle Path takes you past some of the rock outcrops where evidence of these acts of nature is very much visible, such as the Castle Rock where you’ll see strewn rocks from the earthquakes lying in a disarray. The path leads back to Lyttelton, where you can visit the local Farmers’ Market for some fresh produce to reward yourself after the tough hike.
If you’re a nature and scenery lover, New Zealand is the one country you should have on your bucket list. Whichever nature walk you attempt in Christchurch, you can be assured of an immersive introduction to the raw beauty of New Zealand.