Walkers of all abilities are well catered for in the Hurunui. There are some incredible short walks across the district - the coastline from Amberley north and south is excellent for walking, Hanmer Springs offers some fabulous forest walks while the Weka Pass Walkway is a great walk that takes in some original Maori rock art.
Those wanting more of a challenge should look to Mount Grey near Amberley, Mount Isobel near Hanmer Springs and the St James Conservation Area. Each has some incredible tramps on offer - from half day excursions upwards.
The best thing about walking the Hurunui is the incredible scenery. You'll enjoy everything from lakes to forests to expansive alpine meadows and mountains.
Walkways are abundant around here. You can walk for miles on Amberley and Leithfield Beaches and enjoy views stretching from Christchurch to the Kaikoura ranges on a clear day. The Kowai Walking track (2-3 hours) can be accessed from the Leithfield Beach car park. You'll stroll down the Kowai River to the coastal lagoon and beach spit – an awesome opportunity for bird watchers.
Mount Grey (Maukatere) is a great place to get some fresh air. It has two picnic areas each with tables and toilets and a variety of walks – some with 360° panoramic views.
Cheviot services a large rural area that is home to around 1,500 people. Its main road is State Highway One so there's no missing this pretty place. Just don't make the mistake of driving through it - you'll be surprised at what it has to offer.
Just an hour from Christchurch, the small town of Culverden is a great stop - with delightful shops and fabulous walks to stretch your legs.
That red flags flying in the Hanmer Springs Village centre indicate all tracks are closed because of extreme fire danger.
If you would like to get a detailed map about the walks in Hanmer Springs then head to The Hanmer Springs i-SITE Visitor Centre.
All the forest walks are facilitated by an excellent series of carpark access points and marked with good signage.
The mains carparks are:
Chattertons Road for Chatterton River Track and Jacks Pass.
Jacks Pass for Chattertons River, Dumblane, and Mt Isobel Summit.
Mt Isobel (Clarence Valley Road) for Mt Isobel Track, Dog Stream Waterfall, Spur Track, and Pawson Road to Conical Hill.
Waterfall Carpark for Dog Stream Waterfall, Jolliffe Saddle Track, Fir Trail, and Upper Dog Stream.
Mullans Road for Spur Track, Nature Trail, Fir Trail, Upper Dog Stream.
Jollies Pass Road for Forest Amble, Walk, and Journey, Woodland Walk, Majuba Walk, Upper Dog Stream, Timberlands Trail, and Camp Track.
The Hanmer Springs Community Board has developed a network of walkways through Hanmer Springs. These walkways provide convenient paths for residents and visitors to connect with the extensive range of recreational tracks in the adjacent forest areas.
The walkways are mostly of even grade and surfaced in lime-chip, with asphalted concrete over a few high use stretches. These paths should not be used by mountain bikes which cause excessive wear and damage to the surface of the tracks.
The network consists of four routes each colour-coded with the Hanmer Springs Walkways sign.
- Queen Mary Circular (red markers)
- Grand Triangle (yellow markers)
- Chisholm - Dog Stream (green markers)
- Conical Hill - Larch (Brown markers)
Hawarden and Waikari are the gateway to the pristine Hurunui Lakes, set in a secluded inland wilderness. Lake Sumner, Loch Katrine, Lake Sheppard, Lake Taylor and Lake Mason are excellent fishing and hunting grounds and are popular for their walking tracks and for camping in this amazing high country landscape.
The Waipara Valley has incredible scenic walks... the Mt Cass and Tiromoana Bush walkways are well worth exploring. Make sure you bring your camera!
Mt Cass Walkway and Tiromoana Bush Walk are both OPEN. Visitors are reminded that dogs are prohibited and that mountain biking is not permitted on either of the walkways.