The Packhorse Hut was built as part of Harry Ell’s vision of a series of tea houses for travellers going from Christchurch to Akaroa, over the Port Hills. However, only four huts were ever built. The Sign of the Takahe, The Sign of the Bellbird, and the Sign of the Packhorse were built in 1914; the Sign of the Kiwi was built in 1917. All are built of quarried volcanic stone, to harmonise with the surroundings.
Packhorse is a half day walk with some steady climbing and magnificent views across Lyttelton Harbour from the hut.