A Delightful Day Hike in Canterbury

Looking toward Akaroa from Stony Bay Peak.

Looking toward Akaroa from Stony Bay Peak.

With the kids on school holidays, we took the day to go hiking. My daughter chose our destination—the Skyline Circuit, which starts and ends in Akaroa.

It’s an 800m climb to Stony Bay Peak, and down again, and makes a nice day walk.

It’s a typical Banks Peninsula track, climbing mostly through paddocks to a rocky gorse-covered peak. Not exactly a wilderness experience, but varied enough to be interesting, and there are some lovely pockets of native vegetation along the way.

You wouldn’t want to do this walk if the tops were shrouded in cloud—it’s the view from the top that makes the steep climb worthwhile. This morning was clear, and we could see all around the Banks Peninsula and across the plains to the Southern Alps.

Much of the downhill is on Stony Bay Road. I’m not generally fond of hiking roads, but Stony Bay Road isn’t much more than a nice wide gravel path that snakes down through a picturesque patchwork of bush and paddocks.

We ate lunch at the top, and were ready for an afternoon snack by the time we made it back to Akaroa. And, of course, that’s where the beauty of the walk becomes particularly clear—you can end it with a beer and chips at a café in Akaroa (we were even treated to live piano music on the waterfront today).

The clouds rolled in as we left Akaroa, and it was raining by the time we got home, but it was the perfect spring hike.

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