Sumner, Godley Head, and Lyttelton

I’d been to Christchurch probably a dozen times before I ‘discovered’ that it was on the coast, putting it in a completely different light from my impression of a flat city on a river.

Heading along SH74 I was surrounded by water on both sides before heading round the coast to Sumner Beach, looking gorgeous on a sunny autumn day.

Cave Rock is an unusual volcanic formation topped with a small lookout tower that offered even better views of the beach.

This lady was having fun spinning around the beach.

Further around the coast, over a winding, narrow road is the unusually named Te Onepoto / Taylors Mistake, after a master who brought his ship into the wrong inlet. There are some incredible baches built around the coast, most of which have been classed as heritage buildings.

From here the Awaroa / Godley Head Loop Track starts, a three hour walk with stunning views.

The landscape would have once been covered in bush, there is a only a small patch that has been replanted, mostly it’s these unusual succulents.

There are a number of WW2 era gun emplacements on the headland, though when I visited most were out of bounds due to recently found asbestos, though most people seemed quite happy to walk on past the signage…

Scott’s Cabin was an unusual sight, one of four prefab huts built for Scott’s ill fated 1910-1913 Terra Nova expedition. It was taken to Antarctica for meteorological research but without a meteorologist it couldn’t be used, so was brought back to New Zealand and used as a holiday cabin. In 2013 the cabin was moved from an earthquake hazard zone and erected on Godley Head.

Breeze Bay is on the southern side of Godley Head, and offers views of Banks Peninsula, a 1,150 square km volcanic landscape.

The views walking back down the hillside to Te Onepoto / Taylors Mistake were pretty impressive.

A short, scenic drive away over the Port Hills, Lyttelton is a beautifully located settlement, home to the main port for the South Island, Port Lyttelton. Formally established in 1877, it has grown to envelop most of the waterfront, handling a third of South Island exports, and two thirds of imports.

To end with an important part of the port’s history, the Lyttelton Timeball Station, built in 1876, which dropped a ball at the top at the same time every day for ship’s to check their marine chronometers.

Author: jontycrane

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