Crater Rim Trail, Port Hills

Thanks to Virginia Winstone for providing this guide.

NEARBY TOWN/CITY: Christchurch


EXACT LOCATION: Victoria Park on the Port Hills

TOTAL ROUTE DISTANCE: 30 km (with shorter options all well sign posted)

TIME TO RUN: 2hrs 30 min (Elite) 4hrs (Novice)



DIFFICULTY: moderate to challenging

DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS:  The track goes through a change in landscape between open treeless grass plains and rock-strewn slopes to dark and damp forest in the shadow of the hills.

FEATURES OF INTEREST: The Port Hills are a part of the Banks Peninsula, they have a number of summits used for rock climbing as well as running, the Crater Rim Track is the northern rim of an extinct volcano that is made up of 39 reserves with many interconnecting trails that lead to beautiful views of the city with the Southern Alps on one side and the Lyttelton Harbour and surrounding bays on the other.

BEST MAP/S: maps are available at the Port Hills Visitors Centre in Victoria Park

RUN IT: The entrance to Victoria Park is off Dyers Pass rd just above the Sign of the Takahe restaurant. The park has a network of trails that are well sign posted and can make picking a track that is right for your length of time enjoyable. A popular starting trail is the Harry Ell track which is a mix of bush and open stretches that gently rises for 3.5 km, the end of this track connects with the Crater Rim track at the Sign of the Kiwi café, which is one of the two last rest houses still in use, the port hills has a few stone monuments and ruins that help make it a wonderful picnic/photo stop. The Crater Rim track gives you a choice of turning right or left at the Kiwi, left will take you eastwards towards Evens Pass and down to Sumner beach with wonderful views of coastline, on the right track it follows the rim of the mountain and takes you along to sign of the Bellbird ruins and Gebbes Pass. Both directions the track are well formed with some good climbs and a few technical parts that runs parallel to the summit road allowing you to finish at any time.

POST RUN GOODNESS: One of the nice things about being on the Port Hills is there are a few great places that the local cycle clubs and runners use to meet up for refreshment before heading out again.

Sign of the Kiwi: perfect stop for ice cream and sustenance on a hot day in the middle of your run

The Cup: is half way up the hill on Dyers Pass rd and is great place to have coffee on the way to the trail.

Download this guide as a PDF File: Crater Rim Trail


1 Response to Crater Rim Trail, Port Hills

  1. Sarah says:

    Please note: Most of the Crater Rim track is still closed because of the quake. Up to date info can be found on the Christchurch City Council website here

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s