Monumental! The Monument(711m)

“On a Mish” #212 Monumental! The Monument(711m). Te Ara Pataka/Banks Peninsula. 20.7.2015. Banks Peninsula is now covered in farms and small settlements. This makes it hard to think that it was once a mighty volcano standing well over twice the height that it is today. Mountains are incredible works of nature and a good challenge to take on in your spare time!…

Although now extinct, remains of the volcanic activity can be seen in the strange shapes of Lava Necks, or Volcanic Plugs. One of the best examples of this is found near Purau Saddle, and is known as The Monument(711m). Sticking out of one of the many ridges leading to the summit of Te Ahu Patiki/Mt Herbert(919m) like the Wizard’s hard case hat, the small peak definitely leaves an impression when seen from any angle. To make things different from the last time I was here I decided to follow the track out of Kaituna Valley to the Monument(711m).

The hike to the Monument from Kaituna Valley is mostly on farm tracks, the trail climbs to a point with an epic view overlooking Koukourarata / Port Levy. It was at this point that I got my first view of the prominent cone shape of the Monument(711m), and the excitement kept building the closer I got to the peak.

I scrambled around the southern end of the mountain and the only way I could find was covered in scrub. I didn’t really want to add scratches and cuts to my day so I looked for another way to the top.

I attempted the west face next, and after getting quite far up the face I was turned back again by bush and scrub. It seemed like this little lump in Banks Peninsula was going to put up a fight.

I finally made my way around to the northern side and to my surprise I found a light track marked with rock cairns. The rough track took me through the gnarly bush which had halted my progress earlier, and then straight to the summit. It appeared that many, many others had had the same idea as me and wanted to stand on top of the upside down ice cream cone.

The jagged little pinnacle gave me 360 degree views of the rolling hills of Banks Peninsula with Te Ahu Patiki/Mt Herbert(919m) standing tallest in the centre. With such a spectacular view I had to take my time to soak it all in. Like most summits on a fine day, it was hard to begin the return trip home, but sadly I couldn’t stay up here forever and after a snack and some snaps (my camera appreciated the views!) I started on my journey back to Kaituna Valley. Some might say the effort plus the views were very monumental!

I took the track and I scrambled my way back down to the base of the Monument(711m). The track might not be a well formed path, but it is a way up and down!

On the return hike I was treated to epic views of Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere on one side and the Canterbury Bight on the other. My eyes were pleased with what I saw.

Elevation wise the Monument(711m) is relatively low, but it doesn’t seem that way when you are looking down at the ocean. It can be a short and sweet mish from Port Levy Saddle near Purau and does provide an excellent scramble to an awesome view. And then you can also combine a hike from Kaituna Valley with a climb of the Monument and that makes for an excellent day out in Banks Peninsula.

Lyttleton Harbor and The Monument(711m)

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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