Orton Bradley Park: things to see and do

A real treasure for Christchurch is the 653 hectare Orton Bradley Park, on the southern side of Lyttelton Harbour.  It is a working sheep and cattle farm, but there are also picnic and barbeque facilities, extensive walking tracks through protected and regenerating bush, agricultural relics, an outdoor education area, heritage buildings, rhododendron gardens and powered campervan sites.  Some photographs of the rhododendron gardens are here.

Lyttelton Harbour from the Tablelands Track, within Orton Bradley Park

The owner, Orton Bradley, left his entire estate in trust when he died in 1943, to eventually be used as a park.  In 1981 it was opened to the public.  It is run by a registered charitable trust that relies on donations and entry fees to maintain and develop the park.


Gully Track


On the  Waterfall  Track

The water falls 20 metres, fed by a natural spring.



Replica of the original farm homestead that was built in 1852

Volunteers built this replica home in 1998, constructed out of timber milled from the farm.  The fence is made of stones from the creek.


Replica home in November splendour


Shepherd’s cottage

The shepherd’s cottage, built in 1848, is one of the oldest remaining stone buildings in Canterbury.



Orton Bradley showed a great interest in technology. Amongst the restored relics is this waterwheel, which he devised to drive a generator that provided power for his house and workshop.


Part of the outdoor education area


In memory of all the working farm dogs

See Orton Bradley Park at rhododendron time here.

See Mt Herbert Track through Orton Bradley Park here.

9 thoughts on “Orton Bradley Park: things to see and do

  1. Great series of photos Annette, nice spot. My own memories of Orton Bradley Park are mixed. Some years ago, maybe late 1990s, I tramped the Crater Rim Walkway with a group of friends over Labour Weekend. All tramping veterans, we started at the Takahe, had packs carried to Gebbies Pass and spent the night at the Packhorse hut. So far, so easy. We intended to pop over Mt Herbert and drop down to Diamond Harbour on the usual northern ridge route the next day.

    But it snowed overnight, and when we left the Packhorse sharp at 0800 it was clear, with a few cm of snow on the ground, and a bitterly cold southerly. We had just decided against Herbert, and a detour to Orton Bradley, when a southerly squall arrived, with driving sleet and hail. The next 2 hours were some of the coldest I’ve ever spent tramping, and within a few km’s of ChCh.

    We plodded down to Orton Bradley, partly in fresh snow, and arrived like drowned rats to the great amusement of the ‘normal’ tourists. But then the rain eased off, the sun came out, and we tramped round to Diamond Harbour in much better form. Ferry to Lyttleton, showered up, beer and steak at the pub, night at backpackers… over the Bridle Path the next day no sweat….great trip!

    Orton Bradley is a real asset to the city. I’ve been back several times in sunshine to admire the trees and the old buldings. Good to see it getting so much patronage these days.


  2. This is a great story Rod, such intrepid explorers, but with a very happy ending! I’ve been to Packhorse and Mt Herbert shelter, but in the sunshine! You’re right, Orton Bradley is the one of the best kept secrets of Christchurch.


  3. Annette..I love these photos and tales about your country. I will be checking them all out again before we head over next time – whenever that will be.


  4. Pingback: Mt Herbert on Banks Peninsula | annettewoodford

  5. Pingback: Orton Bradley Park at rhododendron time | annettewoodford

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s