Spine of the Lizard

The Trust and Department of Conservation are working together to improve the recreational use of the existing Summit Walkway and several of the feeder tracks that lead to it. The Summit Walkway consists of a central spine route running along the ridgeline from Gebbies Pass to Hilltop. Feeder tracks link it to Orton Bradley Park, Diamond Harbour, Kaituna Valley, Purau Saddle and Pettigrews Road.

Some of these ridgeline routes may have been used by Maori in pre-European days and then by whalers and early settlers, before valleys were drained and roads formed. They have been in recreational use for over 100 years! It was in fact 1900 when local politician Harry Ell first came up with his visionary idea of a series of reserves connected by a walking trail along the Port Hills skyline, dotted with rest houses. The Sign of the Packhorse (the Peninsula’s only DOC-managed hut) is one of the four rest houses that eventually got built (the others were the Sign of the Takahe, Kiwi and Bellbird).

The objective of the Trust and DOC is to develop the network into a cohesive and well-used recreational and educational facility, that provides for a graduated range of introductory opportunities. The project is in its infancy and much work is to be done in collaboration with landowners, the Christchurch City Council, Peninsula runanga, local businesses and communities, as the project progresses.

You will find information about this project under our partnerships section.