Spine of the Lizard update

“The Trust is very proud to be leading the “Spine of the Lizard” project,” says Garry Moore. “It furthers the vision of Christchurch MP Harry Ell who, over 100 years ago, began work on the Summit Walkway Christchurch to Akaroa”. The project aims to improve the existing Summit walkway track along the central spine of the Peninsula from Gebbies Pass to Hilltop, and also includes several feeder tracks linking to it from communities below such as Diamond Harbour, Kaituna Valley, and Orton Bradley Park. The aim is to provide a range of introductory opportunities for people to explore the outdoors and improve understanding of the rural and natural environment. “We are particularly keen to see more Christchurch families with their children, schools and youth organisations using this route,” says Garry, “it’s so easily accessible”.

The Trust has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Conservation to develop the existing track network into a cohesive entity, and is working in collaboration with landowners, the City Council, Peninsula rūnanga, local communities and business. “We’ve been working with DOC staff over the last year,” says Garry, “and are very pleased that the local office has now had internal funding for the project confirmed to improve some track sections and the signage. We are also just beginning to work with landowners along the route”.

The Trust invited tramping groups to trial the newly refurnished Rod Donald hut prior to its opening for the general public. “This gives us a chance to test it out in a more controlled manner”, says Suky, “and for those groups to give us a hand with some of the jobs”.

Duke of Edinburgh award co-ordinator Andrew Smythe from Burnside High School took up the challenge, and his group of six silver and bronze award students and fellow teacher Alison Middlekoop were the first people to walk from Gebbies Pass to Hilltop with an overnight at the new hut in mid-January. Click here to see a slide show of the trip.



(Left) Tōtara skeletons along the route tell the story of environmental destruction in the era of logging

Beautiful views from the Summit Walkway

Stumps and the fences made from the tōtara speak of pioneering endeavours

Burnside High Duke of Edinburgh team at Gebbies Pass trail head - from left – Andrew Smythe (co-ordinator), Ali Pickering, James Smythe, Hugh Martin, Breanna Henderson, Olivia Burnett, Tash Cheal, Alison Middlekoop (deputy co-ordinator)

The journey along the spine continues in beautiful weather

The weather can be incremental!

Reaching a totara grove

Beautiful views