Banks Peninsula Walking Festival

Since 2012 the Rod Donald Trust has been involved with the annual Banks Peninsula Walking Festival, which we coordinate with Project Lyttelton, Akaroa Districts Promotions and the Little River Wairewa Community Trust. The festival has evolved from having a Lyttelton Harbour focus to showcasing the diversity of the whole Banks Peninsula. Walks range from “urban” strolls around the historic port town of Lyttelton, to an exploration of areas of significance to tangata whenua, to whole day walks along the “wildside” of Banks Peninsula, to an overnight tramp to aimed at young families.

The Banks Peninsula Walking Festival offers guided walks all over the peninsula in November each year. The guides, all volunteers, bring a huge wealth of knowledge and experience which makes each walk a valuable experience beyond access to tracks, reserves and private land.

The festival is a fantastic opportunity for the Christchurch City Council, Department Of Conservation, the Trust and other organisations working in the environmental area of Banks Peninsula to highlight new walking tracks in reserves and projects. For example, in 2015 the official Rod Donald hut opening kicked off the festival and Hugh Wilson of Hinewai offered a sneak preview of the Purple Peak Curry Reserve. In 2016 the last weekend of the festival will focus on the centenary of the Packhorse Hut and the work of Harry Ell on the Summit Walkway.

“The Trust is involved with organising the festival and contributing walks featuring its own projects,” explains Suky. “The lead role is taken by Project Lyttelton, as the Banks Peninsula festival has grown out of their Lyttelton Walking festival. Others organisations involved are Akaroa District Promotions, Lyttelton Information Centre, and the Little River/Wairewa Trust. The festival is a real grass roots effort and the walks offered are those that local people in the community volunteer to lead as they have a real passion for them.”

Exploring the podocarp forest on "My First Overnight Tramp" to the Packhorse

Children on "My first overnight tramp" which saw four families with young children walk from Kaituna to the Packhorse Hut and then down to Orton Bradley the next day.

Children from Little River school enjoyed an overnight tramp to the Rod Donald Hut as part of the 2015 festival.

The sneak preview of the Purple Peak Curry Reserve led by Hugh Wilson was very popular, despite the inclement weather.