“A Mish a Day” #214 Mt Bradley(855m). Te Ara Pataka/Banks Peninsula. 27.5.2014. A hike to the top of any of the hills that make up Te Ara Pataka/Banks Peninsula will be worth the effort, and the interesting seaside location always makes for great views. Having the Port Hills and Banks Peninsula on Christchurch’s backdoor step is a massive benefit, and any opportunity to explore this area should be taken.
After a few days of cold southerly rain I was waiting for a break in the weather so I could stretch my legs, and finally that day had come. I wasn’t the only one waiting to get out of the house and go on a mission.. I was joined by my two furry buddies, Dennis and Casper, and together we jumped in the car, and headed for Kaituna Valley.
An early-ish start got the summit team to the small car park located in Kaituna Station, and with the dawn sun lighting up Mt Bradley(855m) we saw the south face of the mountain covered in snow. With our breath visible in the air we began to hike along the farm track towards the base of Mt Bradley(855m) on the track up to Packhorse Hut. The forest on the lower reaches of the mountain kept the area shaded, and this also kept the air temperature low as we followed the zig zagging track towards Kaituna Saddle. After getting to the hut, and topping up our water supply, we continued towards the snow-covered west ridge of the mountain. What looked like an easy ridge to follow turned out to be far from the truth. After making my way through the fields of tussock just above the hut, I began to encounter large patches of gorse and dense scrub. Eventually I found a way through the maze of spiky plants, and after negotiating a section of bush-covered boulders, I finally saw the summit. The fresh snow made any exposed rock slippery, and this meant very slow, careful travel along the rocky summit ridge. After arriving at the top I heard both dogs barking, as they had got stuck at the rocky section just before the summit. I carefully made my way back over the rock to get back to the dogs, and after beginning to descend I realised that in my rush to get back to the dogs, I hadn’t taken any photos from the summit. I had no intentions of heading back up through the gorse, so I took a couple of pictures from about 50 meters below the summit, then carried on back down to the Packhorse Hut. It was amazing how much snow had melted during the time I was on the mountain, and now I was walking in the sloppy mud left behind after the snow melt. We got back down to Kaituna Farm, and by the time we got back to the car, both man and dogs were covered in dark mud from the knees down (full body mud coverage for the hounds!). It is safe to say the car needed a good clean after the mission, but it was well worth it for the awesome adventure to one of the highest points in Te Ara Pataka/Banks Peninsula.