Walking festival a huge success!

Walking Fest

The first two weekends in November saw over 300 people ‘take a walk’ as part of the Banks Peninsula Walking Festival.

It was a chance to rediscover the charms, culture and curiosities of Lyttelton, Akaroa and the wider peninsula. Many of the walks were over-subscribed, with locals and visitors alike taking the opportunity to explore some new places. Several new public walks opened in time for the festival. These included; a hike to the top of the Peninsula’s newest reserve – Saddle Hill, two walks on the City Council’s Misty Peaks reserve above Akaroa including the summit ridgeline and the return of an old favourite that has been closed for many years- the scenic Newtons Falls, and the Langer Trust’s Panama Reserve in Le Bons Bay.

“The festival was a real social occasion, a chance to get together with friends and family, or to meet new people,” said Suky Thompson of the Rod Donald Peninsula Trust.

“The day of the Saddle Hill walk was an absolute stunner,” she said, “and so was Misty Peaks.”

“We had quite a number of young people joining us who have come to Christchurch specifically to work as part of the rebuild process, and they really enjoyed themselves.
“It was exciting to see the potential this event has to recruit future Canterbury citizens. If we can get them out walking out on the peninsula then they might stay, work and bring up families here. Who wouldn’t want to live here,” she said.

Tamsin and Brad Eldridge on the Newton’s Falls walk

Tamsin and Brad Eldridge on the Newton’s Falls walk

Lucette Hindin of Project Lyttelton said that feedback from participants showed the festival had hit the mark, with something for everyone.

“I love the breadth of people that participated and I think that reflected the wide variety of walks we had on offer, from Backyard Chickens to the Quail Island camping trip,” said Lucette.

“The only little gripe we got was that we kept the numbers of each walk low – some tramping clubs were really keen to be able to bring lots of members. But we wanted to maintain a quality experience!”

“It was fabulous to have so many people care enough to give up their time and energy to guide the walks, the festival really showcased that community spirit – about getting together and doing nice things.”
Last year the festival was focused on Lyttelton and the Harbour but Lucette said the decision to extend it out on the peninsula was a great one.

“Project Lyttleton were really happy to collaborate with the Rod Donald Trust, the Waiwera/Little River Trust and the Akaroa District Promotions to create this year’s programme. It was a great success.”

Plans are already in place to repeat the event next year.