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The Banks Peninsula Track

The Banks Peninsula Track.

Changes are afoot for New Zealand’s most popular private walking track, Akaroa’s Banks Peninsula Track.

This coming tramping season from October 2016 to April 2017 will be the final opportunity to enjoy some of the highlights of the dramatic 4 day walk around the Pacific coast south east of Akaroa.

After 27 years without change, one of the founding properties will be retired at the end of the season meaning visitors will no longer visit enchanting Sleepy Cove with it’s fallen sea arch, splendid waterfall, and resident seal population, or visit the headland claimed as the historic pa site where Ngai Tahu defeated Ngati Mamoe.

The Banks Peninsula Track has operated since 1989 as a privately owned and operated company composed of neighbouring properties, but the withdrawal from mid 2017 of Renegat Farm owned by Brian and Fay Narbey means future walkers will take a different route back to Akaroa from the current halfway point at Stony Bay.

Consequently the historic homestead owned by Doug Hood and Fiona Farrell at Otanerito will no longer be accessible by the coastal path. The Otanerito valley tracks of Hinewai Reserve will also be bypassed.

Hinewai Reserve will continue however to play a major role by forming a new walking route up through the reserve in the Stony Bay valley. While plans for the following season are not yet finalized, the Track looks likely to replace its 4 day option with a slightly shorter 3 day package.

“I think this season will be even more busy than usual“ says founding Director Francis Helps of Flea Bay “Every time I talk to people about the Track, they have either walked it or know that it is a wonderful experience and say they plan to do it… This coming change will probably prompt many of them to get on the track this season.“

Everyone knows the beauty that is the Banks Peninsula. The Banks Track is a jewel within a jewel and one of the great experiences of New Zealand. It is a private walk with a difference. You can do it quickly in two days and nights or at a more leisurely pace over four. The accommodation each night in stunning locations is comfortable but very different, run by the individual landowners. The 35 km route (with another 15km of side tracks) covers an extraordinary diversity of landscapes - starting inside the photogenic Akaroa harbour, up to Trig GG above Onuku where the whole peninsula seems to be at your feet, down to the first of three outer bays through some of the best privately held bush in Canterbury. Flea Bay is a marine reserve, hosts a 1300 pair strong breeding colony of penguins, numerous seals and Hector Dolphins.

There follow two days of walking cliff tops and dropping down into bays, passing seal colonies, a Ti Ti reserve, waterfalls, historic Maori sites; a night in the popular purpose built ‘hamlet’ at Stony Bay and a final night in the old farmhouse on the beach at Otanerito. Then a final day of walking up to the crater rim through the HInewai reserve and down into Akaroa.

More information and online booking are available through the Track’s website at www.bankstrack.co.nz


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