It might have been hard coming back to little old Christchurch after exploring the far reaches of the earth, but we have been making the most of this small slice of heaven in between finding jobs and somewhere to live. Being somewhat unemployed and homeless on our return to NZ, we headed straight for the mountains and ticked off an ascent of Mt Somers via Woolshed Creek Hut and my first time up Mt Cloudsley in the Craigieburn Range. It was nice to try out my new Black Diamond Venom on some of the icy stuff but yet to really test it due to the lack of snow in July. It also turns out that I'm about as talented walking in crampons as an intoxicated penguin but I have high hopes for future improvement.
In other exciting news, Jeremy has finished his first week at his new job as a community pharmacy manager and I'm five weeks down working for my favourite outdoor retailer, Macpac. Having to be responsible adults again hasn't come easily, nor has this getting up early five days a week business but we are surviving. Actually earning money rather than just spending it is admittedly quite novel. As a result, we have had to look a little closer to home for out outdoor excursions and as such I'm dedicating the rest of this post to the wonder that is the Port Hills of Christchurch. The following are three tracks you should get out and explore if you are fortunate enough to be in the vicinity.
Godley Head - Taylor's Mistake Walkway
This pathway has been completely remade post-earthquake and the beauty of its perfectly groomed surface is surpassed only by the poetry-inspiring panorama of the Pacific Ocean. Make sure you check out the WW2 coastal defence battery that was going to save Christchurch from potential attack. Start from Godley Head car park or the far end of the beach at Taylor's Mistake. 2-3 hour loop.
Greenwood Park Mountain Bike Track
Drive to the top of Mt Pleasant and leave your car at the Summit Road if biking - downhill single track is more fun than uphill. The track starts just around the corner (towards Sumner) straight off the road and in over a cattle stop. At just over 4km long, this intermediate single track is an easy afternoon ride when dry and an exercise in mud and frustration after heavy rain. The track is quite rocky so if your mountain bike skills are strictly the 4WD track kind, perhaps walking/running would be a better way to enjoy the amazing views. The track pops out at just above Evans Pass and it's a leisurely ride back up the road to the car park.
Mt Vernon Farm Track
At any given time, half the runners and cyclists in town seem to be trekking up Rapaki en masse as though there is no other path for miles in either direction. In reality, the other side of the valley boasts a great little farm track which gives you a much quieter journey to the Summit Road. Head down Hillsborough Terrace to the car park and head up the farm track - another track follows the valley floor before eventually connecting with Rapaki on the other side. After a little climb to get out of the valley, you'll find yourself on a wide grass path that meanders all the way to the top. Great for an after work hill run.
Rachael and Jeremy