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An other beautiful week end of June in Canterbury… It would be silly of us not to enjoy it! So we jump in our hiking boots and, with our friends Pauline and Florian, take the direction of Peak Hill, a steep mount sitting alongside the wide and magnificent lake Coleridge.

A frozen hike on Peak Hill

From Christchurch, where we are living since a few months now, we have to drive 1h30 west on small winding and half frozen roads to reach the beginning of the track. The weather is perfect, but the temperature is freezing cold. New Zealand winter has settled down for good now. To warm up, we start the 4h hike without delay. But has the urban life already started to take a toll on us? We are out of breath after only 500m of walking up the slope! We are in the Mount’s shadow and so we are still freezing despite the exercise. But our efforts are well rewarded when we reach the ridge.
A beautiful  view over the lake and the mountains is waiting for us, and finally the sun warms us up!

Selfie with Lake Coleridge

Selfie with Lake Coleridge

After stopping for a while to catch our breath, we resume walking on the narrow ridge. The more we climb up, the more the track gets icy, until it finally becomes quite dangerous. No question to lost foot and fall: at some places, only emptiness borders the path! But no way we start our way back now! The summit is calling us. We must absolutely reach it if we want to enjoy 100% of the incredible view. We leave the toboggan-track and take a short cut through the frozen fauna which stand erected white and hard like angry cactus.

After having found our way successfully through all those natural traps, we finally reach the snowy top. It looks like we are at the top of a giant pièce montée sprinkled with ice sugar! We were right to be foolhardy : we now admire one of the most beautiful panoramas we saw in all New Zealand. No other words, it’s absolutely FANTASTIC!

On top of Peak Hill, panorama over Lake Coleridge and the valley

On top of Peak Hill, panorama over Lake Coleridge and the valley

We feel very small. It’s exactly one of those sceneries which makes you feel deeply alive, moved and amazed. All these emotions made us ravenous. Thankfully, Pauline and Florian are always carrying a bag of chips on them. We improvise a small picnic, butts in the snow, eyes on the valley… Isn’t life perfect? We would have loved to stay there longer, on Peak Hill summit, but the wind is very cold and we resolve to go back quickly before we lost our toes! Too bad…
Going down the ridge is as slippery as before and we all fall hard on our butt a couple of time. But nothing could break our enthusiasm. Really, this was another beautiful day in New Zealand!

See you soon

Tintin & Riette


 

Cet article comporte 2 commentaires
  1. Dear Tintin & Riette,

    Thanks for your sharing. I enjoy reading it and it’s very useful for us because we are planning a trip to this track. We’ve already walked on other easy track around lake Coleridge but not so sure if we can do the peak hill one, because it is signed medium/hard. After reading your article, I found the trip very promising but still need some preparation before we start. Could you tell me which month did you and your friends visited this track?

    Cheers.

    Huimin

    1. Hi Huimin,
      The trip is really worthy ! It was one of our favorite track in Canterbury : far away from the « touristic ones » with amazing views. It’s easly done in a day including the trip from Christchurch, and to be honest, we didn’t found Peak Hill so hard despite the fact that it’s flagged medium/hard. Medium, for sure yes, it’s not a beginer’s one, but nothing you can’t handle if you hike from time to time. The begining is a bit steep, but as soon as you come up the edge is all smooth and easy.
      We did it exactly on the 31/05, it was still a bit snowy/icy, so it can be easier if you do it without ice.
      So, we’d say : go for it, take your time if you need, but go !
      Take care and have fun !
      Cheers
      Tintin & Riette

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