Showing posts with label Fitness Walking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fitness Walking. Show all posts

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Christchurch 360 Trail: Southern Pegasus Walkway, Waimairi to Spencer Park

Adventures on the Christchurch 360 Trail...

I've mentioned on this blog before that I do a bit of walking for general fitness. One of the places I like to go is along the Southern Pegasus Track, from Waimairi Beach to Spencer Park. A circuit along this track with a  return via the beach is approx 11.5 kilometres in total or 2-3 hours walking time.

Map of route from Waimariri to Spencer Park

On the Southern Pegasus Track/Christchurch 360 Trail

Christchurch 360 trail map: The complete route encircling Christchurch

The South Pegasus Track is a dual use MTB/walking track from North Beach all the way to Spencer Park. A lot of it is along the sand hills backing the local beaches but slightly less than half the journey is through Bottle Lake Plantation on the North Eastern outskirts of Christchurch.

Over the summer I tend to alternate a walk day and a tramping trip every other weekend. If I'm not up in the mountains I will be walking along the beach or traipsing along the Port Hills.

Parts of this route are also sections of the Christchurch 360 Trail which circles the city from Brighton to Macleans Island then all the way to Sumner via the Summit Walkway.

Christchurch 360 Trail: spot where I park the car, Waimairi Beach

Waimariri Beach entrance to the South Pegasus Walkway/Christchurch 360 Trail

You can see from the photos below that the track is exposed to the sun, make sure you have a hat, sunscreen and water as you will get burnt to a crisp if you do not. Later parts of the track are in forest but by then it will be too late.....!

South Pegasus walkway- view north near Waimariri

South Pegasus walkway- view south towards Port Hills
The track is hard packed gravel or sand, the biggest hill (mound really) you will need to climb is about 10 meters high so it makes for fast and straight forward travel.Walking or running shoes are best, boots are total over kill for a track of this kind.

Sandy patch - South Pegasus walkway

Pegasus Bay, view North from tthe Christchurch 360 Trail

Pegasus Bay, view south from the Christchurch 360 Trail
You can walk all the way on the gravel track but I prefer to head 100 meters inland and use the old forestry road which parallels the track. it is a lot quieter (no dodging speeding MTB'ers) as well as being  better protected from the wind & sun.

Turn left to access secondary track on the Christchurch 360 Trail

South Pegasus Walkway heading north

Christchurch 360 Trail: Head right at this track junction
There are plenty of signs and maps to help you navigate, but keep your wits about you. It is a bit of a rabbit warren so people can and have got lost here before. If you get lost, head East and eventually you will strike the Pegasus track and beach. 

Bottle Lake Forest Map

The old forestry road is very nice to walk along it is a lot softer hence easier on the feet and allows you to walk a circuit if the tide is too high to return along the beach. 

Secondary track heading North on the Christchurch 360 Trail
Below are some photos of the Burwood landfill, destination for a lot of the rubble left over from the Christchurch earthquakes. For the first 2 years after the quakes almost all of the spoil and ruins from the Central City were trucked out here and dumped . Later the rubble was used to extend the wharves over at Lytelton or crushed for use as road fill. This pile of debris is about 1.5 kilometres (1 mile) long, a half a  kilometre wide and about 100 meters (300 feet) high. It really shows you how much destruction the earthquakes caused.  It is a modern day barrow! 
Eventually it is planned to plant pine forest on the hills and incorporate them into some new MTB tracks.

Burwood Landfill from track

Burwood Landfill and flax's- big, long hill
The swirl design on the post below is the marker for the Christchurch 360 trail, which over its 135 kilometres encircles the city. One of my side projects is to walk/bike the whole 360 trail, I am about 60% complete at this time. 

I will be doing a post about this sometime in the near future.

Christchurch 360 Trail marker

Looking South West towards Burwood Forest HQ track

I normally just keep walking straight North towards Spencer Park but as I was following the course of the 360 Trail I turned right at the end of the landfill and followed the trail markers to the main South Pegasus Walkway track.This section is mostly forested ans reaches for 3 kilometres to the start of the forest at Spencer Park.

Heading into the forest portion of the track, South Pegasus Walkway

Typical conditions along the forest section, South Pegasus Walkway

Beach access point, South Pegasus Walkway

Track junction to secondary road- go right for the Christchurch 360 Trail
After a kilometre I jinxed back onto the secondary road and follow this all of the way to Spencer Park.

Christchurch 360 Trail: secondary forest track 100m inland

Flowers growing alongside Christchurch 360 Trail

Closeup of the flowers, Bottle Lake Plantation

Jon Moake half way to Spencer Park

Jon Moake half way to Spencer Park on the Christchurch 360 Trail

Old Forestry Road- Bottle Lake Plantation

Track Junction en route to Spencer Park

A mixture of adolescent pine forest...

...and scrub areas on way to Spencer Park

Start of Spencer park along distant treeline

Christchurch 360 Trail: Car parking lay by- Spencer Park

I usually stop for a 5 minute break somewhere along this point as it is about an hour from the start of the track. On the day I actually had some lunch so stopped for a bite out of the sun. 

My lunch spot near Spencer Park

The quality of service station food is sometimes surprising, the BP Connects in particular have a great selection of bakery goods.  This sandwich was panko crusted chicken schnitzel with herb mayo slaw and it was delicious. Much better than the week old manky mince pies we remember from our youth.

Lunch of champions; crisps, sandwich and water on the Christchurch 360 Trail
After 25 minutes I headed off to walk the last 1.5 km's to the main Spencer Park beach access point.

Back on the Christchurch 360 Trail: a  marker en route to the car park
The trail takes you right through the middle of the Spencer Park surf lifesaving complex and then continues north. If you are walking this section of the Christchurch 360 Trail you turn left at the clubrooms and follow the markers to the adrenaline forest near the Spencer Park camp ground. 

Christchurch 360 Trail: Spencer Park Surf lifesaving buildings

Link track heading to main Spencer Park beach access, Christchurch 360 Trail

Track end: Main Spencer Beach car park

Spencer Park- beach access car park view towards the park

Christchurch 360 Trail: Spencer Park sign

Me at the main Spencer Park beach car park

Once I make it to the beach access point at Spencer Park I usually go onto the beach and walk back to Waimairi along the shoreline. Obviously, this is reliant on tides and weather conditions, when you have a high tide the surf will come right up to the sand hills as the land has tilted down as a result of the earthquakes.Alternately, return the way you have come of follow the Pegasus track back towards the City.

Main Spencer Park beach access

Christchurch 360 Trail: Surf conditions near Spencer Park

View of distant Port Hills from near Spencer Park
This is an interesting circuit with its blend of track, sand hills and beach walking, it is seldom boring as there are always a lot to see as you meander along. Take lots of water (no sources anywhere along the track) and watch for MTB riders. Also, in a slightly less savoury fashion, stay away from all the nude sunbathers around Spencer Beach, it is one of the un-official nude beaches around Christchurch.

Yes, you will see them, it is inevitable if you walk this way often enough!

In a later post I will discuss my other common walk on the Port Hills: from the Sign of the Takehe up Dyers Pass running track to the car park at Sugarloaf and return.

Access: Various access points along Waimairi Beach, clearly signposted by Christchurch City Council as either 'Beach Access", or Bottle Lake Plantation
Track Times: 1.5 hours to Spencer Park, same return
Miscellaneous:Beach section is tidal, exposed to sun and wind so be prepared