Showing posts with label Orton Bradley Estate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Orton Bradley Estate. Show all posts

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Orton Bradley to Mt Herbert: 8 February 2015

   Tramping on Mt Herbert

I'm preparing for my 5 day tramp around the St James Walkway, due to start in just over a week, so went out for a "conditioning" trip over the weekend. My original plan was to walk to the summit of Mt Herbert (919 a.s.l) along the Monument Track. This is a steep track from the high point of the Purau - Port Levy road, thus completing my goal to climb the mountain from all three possible sides.

A 2016 photo of the Purau Saddle car park: no bogans!

Unfortunately when I arrived at the car park at 7 am there were a couple of dodgy looking "car enthusiasts" (bogans/boy racers/petrol heads, etc. take your pick of names...) sitting there. After waiting for 20 minutes with no sign of them leaving I decided that I wouldn't take the gamble that my car would be broken into, instead I would change my plans.

So off I trotted to Orton Bradley Estate and climbed the mountain from there.

Entrance to Orton Bradley Estate
Orton Bradley Estate sign at entrance

Orton Bradley Estate to Mt Herbert

I started off from the familiar car park at Orton Bradley Estate, it was busy with several large groups of people camping for the long weekend. You are able to camp at the park from the 23rd December right through to Waitangi day, something to add to the "to do" list. 
Nice amenities for people staying: nice flat camp sites, water supply, a new ablution block and a central cooking/relaxation shelter.

Car park at track start, Orton Bradley Estate

Orton Bradley Estate track network and Mt Herbert

The summit of Mt Herbert is 5-6 hours return from the start of the track at the end of the public access road in the Estate

Waitangi weekend camping at Orton Bradley Estate

Start of track at Orton Bradley Estate
Orton Bradley Estate: Track through exotic plantation

There is an awesome looking outdoor adventure course in this stand of gum trees, you are able to access all of the low equipment but the aerial walkway is closed for random users. Go have a look if you are ever at the park, follow the track to the first large bridge, cross and you can see the equipment.

Orton Bradley Estate: Mature gum trees near outdoor adventure course
There are some nice bits of bush along the course of the valley, the track sidles back and forth through them.
Orton Bradley Estate, bush remnant on valley floor
Eventually you come to a stile and a farm track making its way up the valley, follow this till you reach the edge of the park and the start of the DOC estate.

Start of farm track up Orton Bradley Estate valley

View towards head of Orton Bradley Estate, Mt Herbert
At the end of the track you enter DOC land, the track is much less distinct from this point but is marked with the standard DOC orange markers as well as old markers set up by the defunct Walkways Commission.

Crossing into DOC reserve from Orton Bradley

Below are a couple of photos of the small bush areas you encounter along this mid section of the track. It is interposed with large grassy clearings and volcanic rock outcrops.

Mt Herbert Walkway: typical area of bush...

Dense bush on the Mt Herbert Walkway

You soon start to climb, the track sidles back and forth across the face of the hills, gradually gaining height as you go. It is not overly strenuous but can be hot and exposed on a nice day.Bring lots of water as there is no place to replenish till you reach the shelter! 
Mt Herbert Walkway: start of the climb to Mt Herbert shelter

First view of Port Hills from Mt Herbert Walkway

Mt Herbert Walkway: view from the 300 metre mark

Mt Herbert: above bush line, view towards Lyttleton
I just noticed I'm on a bit of a lean in this shot????? Here I am half way to Mt Herbert Shelter, a quick stop for a photo, snack and drink. It was still cloudy enough that I did not need to have my hat on.

Woohhh...! Jon on a lean on Mt Herbert Walkway

Stunning views from here head of Orton Bradley Estate
There is another track down the opposite side of the valley, this was going to be my egress point until I noticed the fresh three story high rock fall laying on the track...alright then, I wont go that way!
The track leads to the Tablelands which is a large flat plateau on the 300 metre contour, it is part of Orton Bradley Estate. There is a track up to the plateau near the start of the Mt Herbert track, it can be followed all the way to the summit if you like.

Orton Bradley Estate: track to the Tablelands

On the old farm track aka Mt Herbert Walkway
A zig-zag track covers the last 150 meters of altitude gain to the shelter, easy walking even with the high grass along it.
Mt Herbert Walkway: view of zig zag section... nearly at shelter

Mt Herbert Walkway: view down valley, Quail Island 

Mt Herbert Walkway: over grown track conditions

There is a connecting track at the top of the zig-zag section which leads around the back of Mt Bradley to Packhorse Hut. It is about 1.5 hours from this point to the hut. A round trip from Diamond Harbor to Gebbies Pass can be made using the hut as an overnight location, it would be a 8-9 hour trip in total. 
Mt Herbert Walkway: side track to Packhorse Hut

Mt Herbert Walkway: at the Packhorse track junction

Lyttleton Harbour from Mt Herbert Walkway

Distant view of Southern Alps, Mt Bradley from Mt Herbert Walkway

Mt Bradley from near Mt Herbert shelter

First view of Mt Herbert shelter

DOC track sign at Mt Herbert shelter

Birdlings Flat from Mt Herbert Shelter
The track to Packhorse Hut skirts the front of Mt Bradley before passing behind the rocky outcrop in the middle of the photo.

NB: 2016 Update: The track is now part of the Te Ara Pataka Walkway and has been cleaned up to make it suitable for novice trampers and MTB'ers. There are still some exposed spots but it is much easier to navigate and less overgrown. 

South towards Mt Bradley from Mt Herbert Shelter

View of harbour from near Mt Herbert shelter
I momentarily stopped at the shelter to use the toilet before continuing along the track towards the summit of Mt Herbert. Here is a view of the interior of the shelter, basic, but it does the job.

Interior Mt Herbert shelter

Interior Mt Herbert shelter
There is a track from Kaituna Saddle to Mt Herbert, access is from the gravel road between Little River and Port Levy. There is parking area on the saddle, the track takes between 2-4 hours to reach the summit of Mt Herbert. This is part of the new multi day walkway DOC is going to build from Gebbies Pass to Hilltop following the old "paper" road of the original Summit Road Society.

Kaituna Saddle, upper Kaituna Valley from Te Ara Pataka

Great views possible from inside the toilet at the shelter all of Kaituna Valley and South Canterbury. If you get outdoors often you grow to appreciate a fine "dunny view", allowing you to soothe both mind and body at the same time....

Mt Herbert: Awesome dunny views!

Kaituna Saddle, Kaituna Bush, Akaroa Range in distance

The track to the summit is about 10 minutes uphill from the shelter, you need to keep a good lookout for the DOC sign as the track is a bit overgrown and indistinct.

Diamond Harbour - Mt Herbert shelter track

Track to summit of Mt Herbert
Below are a series of photos taken from the top of the mountain, you have an almost 360 degree view from the summit.

Mt Herbert: view South West from Summit

Mt Herbert: view north from Mt Herbert

Mt Herbert: Port Levy from summit

Mt Herbert: DOC summit sign
Man made or natural destruction? Its hard to know but both the trig and the DOC sign on the summit were blown over. I read somewhere that they had 200kph winds up here in mid 2014 so I'm leaning towards the later...
Mt Herbert: Demolished trig marker

The large rock outcrop in the center-right of the photo below is The Monument. The track I wanted to tramp follows the ridge line, around the front of the crag and then joins up with the Summit walkway.

Monument Rock/Port Levy from Mt Herbert
Looking at the Port Hills from up here makes them pale into almost insignificance even though they are an intimate part of living in Christchurch.

Mt Herbert: Lyttleton Harbour and Pegasus Bay

Jon on the summit of Mt Herbert
This is my firth visit to this spot and it is always spectacular. Look at that awesome view, scenes like these are the reason I go on these tramping adventures, nature just takes your breathe away....and less than 45 minutes from Christchurch.

Head of Lyttleton Harbour, Quail Island from Mt Herbert

Mt Herbert: view towards Mt Bradley

View of all of Lyttleton Harbour, Canterbury from Mt Herbert

Port of Lyttleton from Mt Herbert
The side track to the summit of Mt Herbert is indistinct when walking uphill from the shelter-  keep your eyes peeled for the track sign. The track itself looked like an old overgrown 4 W/D farm track.
Mt Herbert Summit track cut off from Mt Herbert Walkway

Mt Herbert: track sign to summit

Mt Herbert shelter on its saddle
I stopped in the Mt Herbert Shelter for lunch, it is very nice and well maintained; appreciated as there was a cold wind blowing. In a pinch you could sleep in the shelter but it would make for a cold night as the saddle it sits on is very exposed. There is a water tank and toilets to the rear of the shelter.

Mt Herbert seen through Mt Herbert shelter window

Port Hills from inside Mt Herbert shelter

After a 30 minute lunch break I packed my gear and headed back down the walkway to the Orton Bradley Estate. Those beautiful views of Canterbury are right in front of you for the first hour down the track before you enter the bush. 

Mt Herbert Walkway: Heading back to the car park

Here is an exposed section of volcanic ash deposits, right by the track. We sometimes forget that the whole peninsula was once a series of very large volcanoes.

Exposed volcanic ash layers on Mt Herbert Walkway
At one point on the track, just as you enter a piece of bush you are able to see six DOC track markers leading onwards. I think it is a bit of overkill, though there are some big bluffs near the track so I imagine DOC doesn't want dead bodies cluttering up the place.

Mt Herbert Walkway: 6 track markers within 100 metres line of sight
Good shot of the contrasting areas of bush and dryland grass areas in this valley.

Bush remnants Orton Bradley Estate
Below is the only real stream you need to cross on this track, this is the stream from the head of the valley which meanders down through the Orton Bradley Estate. Not a raging torrent obviously!

Stream crossing Orton Bradley Estate

Another awesome trip, though not the trip I planned, it was still a good day. The highlight would have to be the awesome view of Canterbury from the summit, if you are ever down this way put this trip on your "to do" list. Grunting up the hills takes some effort but the track is easy walking otherwise.

Finally back at the Orton Bradley car park

Access: From Teddington follow the Christchurch - Diamond Harbour road to Charteris Bay. Turn right into Orton Bradley Park straight after golf course and find the group picnic area.
Track Times: 2-3 hours to summit of Mt Herbert, 2-2.5 hours to Mt Herbert Shelter, 2-3 hours return to Orton Bradley Estate
Miscellaneous:Steep track, suitable for those with good - moderate fitness. All weather access.  Mt Herbert is very exposed to weather, exercise caution in wet, windy conditions. Shelter for day use only, has toilet and water tank.