Kaituna Valley round trip

12 January

Due to a ferocious weather forecast for inland Canterbury areas the planned trip to the Rangitata Gorge was abandoned (for now ) and Trip Leader Dennis decided to do a more local walk.

We headed to Kaituna Valley on a glorious morning. Not too windy yet but it soon built up ! A quick car shuttle ensured waiting transport at the end of the trip. We started off uphill towards the Packhorse Hut where we planned to stop for morning tea. It was quite a grunt up the steep stony path but soon the bushes and trees gave way to lovely views over open grassland.

      It was getting pretty warm now so at the hut we were glad to rehydrate and refuel our water bottles while we enjoyed the magnificent sight of Lyttelton Harbour and distant mountains far up Pegasus Bay to Kaikoura. The air was very clear allowing these far reaching views. Visits to the toilet ensured laughter as the little house threatened to be blown off its foundations in the now wild winds!

     We then toiled up the grassy zig zag path towards imposing rocky cliffs, the hut below staying in view for a long time until we reached the bush. The slope levelled off as we by passed Mt. Bradley. We stopped for lunch at the Mt. Herbert Shelter and gazed down at the magnificent views all around. Lyttelton harbour was looking especially lovely with its surrounding rugged crater rim and Quail Island lying peacefully down below.

And then a short walk on up to the summit of Mt. Herbert. After that walking was much easier, flat or downhill with only an occasional short uphill stretch. The track we wanted to go back down into Kaituna Valley was not well marked but we could see the path so soon picked it up (and finally a sign post !) Now it was an easy and constant descent back to the waiting car. Another quick car shuttle and we were on our way home. Two planned stops for coffee were thwarted by both venues being closed !

  It was a really lovely day out. Hopefully the two new folk who joined us ( Frank and Jessica....welcome !) will feel inclined to come out with us again.



  Leader: Dennis