BANKS PENINSULA TRACK TWO DAY WALK
The Banks Peninsula Track is one of the most spectacular two day walks in NZ.
Easy to organise, it combines hill and coastal walking at their best, making this a great option for a short break for those who like to spend much of their day tramping.
A high level of fitness is required as the 35 kms includes a lot of hill walking, and the Track climbs from sea level to over 600m twice, and features rugged exposed headlands. It can be done with a very light pack by taking advantage of the trampers' shop at Stony Bay on night two.
All facilities are available to you, whether you are staying the night or just passing by, and a separate 'bath under the stars' is reserved for you at Stony Bay so you can soak any tired limbs and feet to your hearts content.
The two day track is limited to just 4 walkers per day, but single groups of up to 6 may be accommodated by contacting us direct.
After your first nights' stay at Onuku Farm Trampers' Hut, the Banks Peninsula Track climbs up and over the crater rim surrounding Akaroa Harbour. From there it descends through native forest to the Pacific Coast and penguin colony at Flea Bay. The Track then follows the dramatic coastline, via clifftops and bays including the Seal Cave and shelter before reaching Stony Bay for your second night's stay. Your second days walking continues around the coast visiting tranquil Sleepy Cove before reaching the sandy beach of Otanerito. From there you turn inland and ascend once more through both the regenerating and ancient forest of Hinewai Reserve before cresting the crater rim at Purple Peak saddle and descending to Akaroa. The Track route is wonderfully diverse, passing through lush native bush and beech forest, with waterfalls and birdsong, and crossing open pasture with stunning panoramic views.
Walking Distances and Estimated Times
Section 1 Onuku - Flea Bay 11 kms, 4-6 hrs
Section 2 Flea Bay - Stony Bay 8 kms, 2-4 hrs
Section 3 Stony Bay - Otanerito Beach 6 kms, 2-3 hrs
Section 4 Otanerito Beach - Akaroa 10 kms, 3-5 hrs
Two day walkers walk two sections per day.
You quickly gain height after passing the Onuku farm buildings following the grass farm road to the abandoned site of Paradise Farm. Continue up through open pasture with stunning views of Akaroa Inner Harbour until finally reaching Trig GG, the highest point on the walk. From here on clear days there are views over to the Southern Alps. Soon after there is a walkers' shelter, before you cross over the crater rim. A brief road section starts the descent into Flea Bay, you turn off at Mortlock's Mistake, following the stream through conservation reserves with red beech and regrowth hardwood forest, and a series of four waterfalls, (access behind the veil of the last one) before emerging into the grazed land of the valley floor. In the last 20 minutes you pass Nikau palms at their southernmost limit. The cottage for your lunch stop is just 200m from the beach and Pohatu marine reserve.
The Track leaves Flea Bay by climbing to just 150 metres altitude and then traversing along the eastern side of the bay above Pohatu marine reserve, giving good views, with seats provided for dolphin and penguin viewing. The narrow track continues on through the DOC penguin sanctuary area and rounds the tip of the headland before reaching the gully above Island Nook. From here it follows the dramatic clifftop route to the iron oxide stained cliffs of Redcliffe Point before dropping down to the 'Gull and Shag' shelter built against the rock wall. You cross a stream here, near the Seal Cave, a reliable haunt of fur seals, often swimming and playing with their young amongst the rocks or curled up asleep in the cave. The track climbs steeply after this to the ridge (with great views to Pompeys Pillar to the north), and then follows round the coast before a steep descent brings you down onto the beach. You cross the small creek and walk a hundred yards up the valley to the Stony Bay cottages where you will spend your second night.
From Stony Bay you climb briefly through regenerating coastal forest (penguin sanctuary) before heading out to Blowhole Point (where in favourable conditions the sea whooshes up through a small hole in the rock shelf). You then swing inland again past rock-walled Blind Bay, up a bushy gully, and out to the southern headland of Sleepy Bay with its spectacular view of the Sea Arch (now sea spike after the earthquake). Sheltered Sleepy Bay is in delightful contrast, its high bush-girt waterfall is just a couple of minutes off the main track. You cross one more spur, passing the site where Ngai Tahu warriors fought a decisive battle with Ngati Mamoe some 300 years ago, before joining the broad farm track down to Otanerito beach.
The first kilometre from Otanerito beach is through farmland alongside the creek, but for most of the way upvalley the route traverses Hinewai Reserve through extensive regenerating native forest and some mature old-growth beech forest. The gradient is gentle at first, following the lower reaches of Narbey Stream, with short sidetracks leading to waterfalls. The second half of the ascent is steeper but under shady forest canopies. Eventually you emerge into a parkland of native trees and pasture at Brocheries Flat, before making the last short climb to Purple Peak saddle, 590m above sea level. Akaroa Harbour spreads out below you like a satellite image. For the energetic, a 40 minute steep side track leads to the even loftier viewpoint of Taraterehu, or Stony Bay Peak, 806m. From the saddle the track descends quite steeply through grassy farmland gullied with native bush and surrounded by spacious views in all directions, finally entering town by Mt Vernon Lodge and Rue Balguerie.
On the two day walk you stay overnight at Onuku Farm Trampers' Hut and the Stony Bay cottages. You are welcome to visit and use the facilities provided at Flea Bay cottage and Otanerito Beach House as you pass through.
All the accommodations have fully equipped kitchens, comfortable bedrooms and bathrooms with flush toilets and hot showers.
There is no 'official' hosting at the accommodations on the Banks Peninsula Track. Each hut is owned and run by different families with a high degree of independence as to how they operate. Our intention from the outset was to try and provide walkers with everything they needed for an enjoyable stay and to remain as much in the background as possible, with our contact being at the personal level rather than in the pre-arranged 'tourist' format. In many cases you will not see anyone, but we are usually around and if you need anything or wish to ask questions, please come to the farmhouse and find us!
Onuku Farm Trampers’ Hut
This first night for all walkers is in two purpose built lodges with panoramic views over Akaroa Harbour. The smaller chalet, for two day walkers, has a kitchen/dining room and 2 bedrooms. Or you may choose, for fun, to sleep in one of the double bed 'stargazers' where you can lie in your bed and see the stars. Toilets and shower are shared with the four day walkers
Flea Bay Cottage
This charming 160 yr old pioneer cottage is a midday stop on the two day walk and is set just 200m back from the safe swimming beach with verandah views of the bay and Pohatu marine reserve Electric stove, hot water, shower. Log burner, flush toilets. The cottage is sited within the boundaries of the largest mainland colony of Little Penguin in NZ.
Stony Bay Cottage
At the mid-point of your walk, the second night for two day walkers is amongst a delightful collection of self-contained colonial style cottages. The 2 day walk cottage is one roomed with a cottage garden, wood stove, barbeque, double mattress in the loft, gas cooking, candles for lighting, and your own 'bath under the stars'. Toilets and hot shower are shared with 2 day walkers. A full range of shop supplies are available at Stony Bay.
Otanerito Beach House
A comfortable rest stop for two day walkers after your first two hours walking. Set in a delightful 'out of control' organic garden, abundant with both exotic and native plants, the house is just fifty yards from a safe, sandy beach with good swimming in calm seas and great boogie boarding when the surf is up. Kitchen in house and outside toilet/shower block. Free coffee, tea, sugar.... and a good selection of books, magazines. Otanerito Beach Tramper's Shop also has a full range of supplies.
PRIVATE DOUBLE ROOM WITH LINEN PROVIDED
This option guarantees you a private room, with all your linen and towels provided.
Only one room (double) is bookable per day - $75 per day ($150 for two day walk)
If you want this option contact our booking office before making your main booking.
FOOD AND DRINK
The Track is Self - catering, with the following options, which are all payable by cash.
On your first evening at Onuku, and following morning, you need to bring all your own supplies.
During your first days walking, as you pass through Flea Bay there are Drinks and Chocolate available at the Cottage.
On your second evening at Stony Bay and as you pass Otanerito the following day, there are Trampers' shops.
These two shops are well stocked and open to walkers whenever they arrive. They are restocked daily, and provide sufficient choice and quantity to cater for individuals or groups. Expect to pay prices roughly similar to a remote country dairy.
Trampers' shops supply list.
As well as a good supply of Cold drinks, stocks include
Cereals, Milk, Bread, Butter, Bacon, Eggs, Coffee, Tea, Sugar, Chocolate, Biscuits, Fresh vegetables, Soup, Tinned fish, Cheese, Fresh fruit, tins fruit, tinned tomatoes, Noodles, Pasta, Potatoes, Sausages, Steaks, Mince, and Ice Cream.
PACK CARTAGE OPTIONS
Section 1. Onuku Farm to Flea Bay. A standard charge of $15 per pack is subject to a $30 minimum daily fee. Payment by cash.Arrival of packs at Flea Bay is by 2.00pm. Please note this may involve you waiting here for their arrival before continuing to Stony Bay (2-4 hrs more walking time).
Section 4. Otanerito - Akaroa.
Pack cartage is not guaranteed for two day walkers.
If it is taking place for the four day walkers you may be able to add your packs when you get to Otanerito. $10 per pack, by cash at Otanerito. Arrival of packs, by 1.00pm. Fee includes storage in Akaroa.
Additional luggage (not valuables) can be stored during your walk for $5.00. Please bring to bus pick-up.
The Banks Peninsula Track runs alongside Pohatu Marine Reserve.
The possibility to kayak at Flea Bay is provided by Shireen Helps, and is separate from your Banks Peninsula Track booking. Shireen Helps offers a special price of just $25 for Track walkers on her kayaking trips at Flea Bay/Pohatu Marine Reserve, but would like to stress that availability is dependent on her commitments on the day, and cannot be booked by Track walkers in advance. The most usual time is in the morning after staying the night there on the four day walk, but when you arrive at Flea Bay on the two day walk, please follow the instructions in the hut and make your interest to go kayaking known as early as possible. This trip can be mind blowing in the right sea conditions. The outer coast of Pohatu Marine Reserve is spectacular with towering sea cliffs sculpted through the ages by the sea into rock stacks, reefs, and deep sea caves. Flea Bay Island and the impressive island arch make an added exciting attraction.
Even if the outer coast is too rough for kayaking the sheltered bay has a lot to offer. Pohatu/ Flea Bay is home to seals that can almost always be seen lounging on the rocks or swimming nearby. During the breeding or moulting season penguins are often found sitting in and around rock crevices, or maybe swimming out on the water of the bay. Often Hectors Dolphins join us and swim along with the kayaks.
A large fleet of safe stable doubles and experienced guides enables even the inexperienced to enjoy an unforgettable experience - trips may be accompanied free of additional charge. Please note - kayaking is subject to sea conditions. Kayak hire is open when at least the sheltered bay can be kayaked.
By private vehicle.
Akaroa is a scenic 85km drive from Christchurch on State Highway 75. Leave Christchurch at the south eastern corner of Hagley Park along Lincoln Road. Allow 90 mins for the journey. Petrol and refreshments are available at Tai Tapu, Little River, and Duvauchelle along the way, and Little River Gallery and Barrys Bay Cheese factory are well worth a visit.
Public Transport from Christchurch to Akaroa (and return).
Regular bus services are provided (up to 3 per day) by
Akaroa Shuttle 0800 500 929
French Connection 0800 800 575
Taxi bus services are provided at good rates by
Outer bays tours 027 489 7200
Christchurch/Airport Pick Up
Christchurch has an international airport with direct flights to all the major Australian cities as well as many other international destinations. As the major South Island airport, it also has good connecting flights to almost all other NZ destinations.
Outer bays tours offer the tracks bus, or a van for smaller groups, to charter for groups arriving in Christchurch. Paul can pick you up from the airport or city mid afternoon and deliver you to Akaroa, and return you to Christchurch/airport upon finishing the track. The cost is competitive with any other transport operator and the service convenient as the same bus takes you and your gear out to the first hut that night.
It may be possible to consolidate your group with others. Please contact direct to arrange.
Paul Chandler e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Ph. 027 489 7200.
FREE CAR PARKING
Complimentary car parking is available for walkers at the Banks Peninsula Track car park at Mt Vernon Lodge, one kilometre up Rue Balguerie from the bus departure point at Akaroa old Post Office. Allow 30 mins for parking and walk to bus pick-up. Tip. Drop off passengers and backpacks in Akaroa before driving up to Mt Vernon.
FREE BUS TO START
Our Banks Peninsula Track bus leaves Akaroa old Post Office at 5.45pm for the short trip to Onuku Farm Trampers' Hut. A short orientation talk precedes bus departure and you are issued with your informative guide booklet which includes maps. Please note - there is a 10 minute walk from road end to hut.
WHAT YOU NEED
Clothing including adequate outdoor clothing for all weather.
Personal necessities (toiletries, medicines).
Cash for shop and pack cartage payments.
Torch, light indoor footwear, water bottle, swimwear, daypack (if using pack cartage), camera. Food.
You need to start the two day track with food for your first night (option of Bushcafe instead) and first walking day, although drinks and chocolate are available as you pass through Flea Bay. For your second night and following day, food and refreshments are available from two small shops at Stony Bay and Otanerito Beach.
Please note most of the track is outside cell phone range.
All the huts contain clean, fully equipped kitchens, including fridges, gas or electric stoves, pots, pans, plates, cups, cutlery, t-towels, tin openers, etc... so you do not need any of these. The huts contain covered mattresses, pillows and clean pillowcases.
You will need a sleeping bag to sleep in. Sleeping bags can be hired for $30 per trip. Bags are washed at Akaroa Laundry between each hire. Hire should be arranged in advance (preferably by e-mail).
2016 - 2017 season prices.
Price ~ $195
To make a booking, first check our availability guide and choose an available booking date for your number and package. You only need to have the start date available (this includes the other days/nights on either package). From there either continue with online booking, or send an e-mail enquiry to our office through the contact us page.
NB. Your booking start date is the date of your 5.45pm bus pick-up. You start walking the day after. This means you need two days following your start night. For example, a Monday night start will mean you stay Tuesday night at Stony Bay and reach Akaroa around 3.00pm on Wednesday.
A 90% refund will be made when at least 28 days notice is given.
A 50% refund will be made when at least 7 days notice is given, otherwise payment is forfeited.
Cancelled bookings may be refilled.
TWO DAY WALK ITINERARY
5.45 pm pickup at Akaroa old Post Office - this is on your booking start date.
Bus transport to Onuku Trampers' Hut. Ten minute walk from bus drop-off point to hut.
First night. Onuku Trampers' Hut.
First day morning. Onuku to Flea Bay. 4-6 hrs walking. Pack cartage from Onuku to Flea Bay is an option
Lunch stop. Flea Bay Cottage. Drinks and Chocolate available.
First day afternoon. Flea Bay to Stony Bay. 2-4 hrs walking.
Second night. Stony Bay Cottages. Full Trampers' shop supplies available.
Second day morning. Stony Bay to Otanerito. 2-3 hrs walking.
Morning/lunch stop. Otanerito House. Full Trampers' shop available.
Second day afternoon. Otanerito to Akaroa. 3-5 hrs walking.
Arrive Akaroa - mid afternoon.