Washpen Falls Track

An hour’s drive from Christchurch is the Washpen Falls Track.   It is a private track on a back country working farm in the Malvern Hills, through which the  loop track has been created.  It passes through a stunning  ancient volcanic canyon, now full of native bush and a continuous chorus of birdsong.  After perusing information in the old woolshed, visitors can pick up a guide which gives information about interest points along the track.  Allow one to three hours for the walk, according to how long is spent at each viewpoint, and level of fitness (there are some steep sections).

Through pine forest

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Kennedy’s Bush Track re-opens

A popular Port Hills track has re-opened after a year in which walkers and cyclists were unable to use it.  After the Port Hills fires a year ago, the track was closed while burnt trees were felled due to safety concerns.  This Easter weekend the track was opened again, much to the delight of people who use it as a stand alone walk/ride, but also as access to the Summit Road and other tracks near there.

Previously the track passed through treed areas, which added interest to the scenery and provided some wind shelter.

Some photos of the track prior to the fires –

May 2014

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Ohinetahi House and Garden

Sir Miles Warren’s house and garden in Governor’s Bay are a delight. With harbour views,  the present garden was begun in 1977 by Sir Miles, though there was a garden created on the some site in 1865 by one of New Zealand’s first botanists, T.H . Potts.  Some of the exotic trees and shrubs he planted still stand on the perimeter of the garden.  Sir Miles Warren is a well-known New Zealand architect, now in his 80’s.  He lives in the house and was working in his garden when we visited.  In 2012 he gifted the house and garden to the people of New Zealand through the Ohinetahi Charitable Trust.

Introduction outside the main house before starting the tour


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Heathcote Valley from the Bridle Path – what has happened in 135 years?


Heathcote Valley from Bridle Path, about 1880 (on the left) and 2015 (on the right).  Click to enlarge

As a pre-Christmas trek,  we walked  the Bridle Path, from the Heathcote Valley over the Port Hills to Lyttelton.  On the way we passed an information board which reminded us of the challenges faced by the early European settlers who arrived in Christchurch in 1850.  The photo on the left, originally from the Canterbury Museum and taken about 1880, appears on the information board.

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Deconstruction of Hilgendorf building at Lincoln University


The Hilgendorf building had a strong presence on the Lincoln University campus, comprising  about 30 % of Lincoln’s academic floor space.  Built in the brutalist style and opened in 1968, it was named after Frederick William Hilgendorf, who pioneered plant breeding in New Zealand, concentrating on wheat.  He joined the staff in 1899, and retired in 1936.  Continue reading