Money in the Banks – Old Le Bons Track

“On a Mish” #326 Money in the Banks. Old Le Bons Bay Track. Horomaka / Bank Peninsula. 5.5.2022. Many in Christchurch look west towards the Southern Alps when considering mountain activity. However on the eastern side of the South Island’s largest city is Banks Peninsula, a place full of mountain adventures. The Port Hills hide most of the peaks, so the best way to get the views is to go for a little drive… After more hip issues and a long continuous stretch working down in Te Anau, I needed a break and I also needed to catch up with my Whanau in Christchurch. The drive north, while hard on my hip, was just a warm up as my cousin Adam had an idea for a day trip in his beastly Suzuki Jimny…

Thick mist covered the Canterbury Plains as we set off, and I was hoping at some stage we would get above the mist as we climbed higher. With 33-inch tyres and raised suspension, the Jimny isn’t an open road warrior, but not going fast is no issue to us when we know where we can go once we run out of road. Our first goal was to get over the hills at the southern end of the Peninsula and then drop down into Wainui and Akaroa Harbour. It was on this part of the mish that we got above the clouds for the first time, and what a treat it was! Thick low clouds covered the plains all the way to the base of the Southern Alps in the west, and to the east was a sea of cloud covering the Pacific as far as the eye could see. So far so good. We dropped down into Wainui then checked out the tiny Peninsula of Onewa. From mountain views to mirror-like water reflections, we were being treated to many different visual phenomena – each of which would be awesome on its own. We stopped for an on-the-go coffee in Duvauchelle and then headed to the real challenge for the day.

Onewa Peninsula

I wouldn’t recommend a coffee on a 4wd mish. So with a lap covered in coffee we began the Old Le Bons Bay Track, a slow side to side adventure that gave my hip and back a good shake up. A mixture of rain and high use had turned the track into a real off road challenge. Of course this was no problem to the mighty Jimny, and with care Adam slowly guided the truck to the top of the track. From off road to on road, we followed the sealed road down into Le Bons Bay, before taking a dirt road up on to the tops above Okains Bay. The off road part of our day had ended but the Peninsula still had more epicness to deliver. Low clouds still hung in the valleys and bays at the north east end of the Peninsula, so we were once again above the clouds. It is safe to say we had an epic outing and the day showed me the hidden potential directly behind one of New Zealand’s largest cities. As per normal with our missions, on the way home we were already talking about our next outing. And with all the mods Adam has made to the mighty Jimny, who knows where we will end up…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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