Port Hills, Christchurch Overview

Port Hills are a superb range of Hills located somewhere in Canterbury, New Zealand. These hills originated from the eroded remnant of the Lyttelton Volcano, which erupted millions of years ago. It is one of the most popular attractions of New Zealand, which not only serves you with scenic beauty but also offers thrilling experiences for trekking and riding through the trails of the Hills. It provides incredible panoramic views while riding and a wonderful path for short walks and little adventures. Port Hills is a splendid natural establishment that runs through Godly Head and ends up dividing the city from the harbour.

The Port Hills have great geological and environmental importance.Port Hills also has great biodiversity.

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Port Hills has a very interesting origin story. The Hills were a result of the volcanic eruption that took place millions of years ago. The Lyttelton Rail tunnel that cuts through the Hills, was a major barrier between the city and the Hills. The older Bridle Path crossed the hills in between Lyttelton and Heathcote and the road over Evan Pass that crossed from Sumner to Lyttelton, constructed in 1857,  carried almost all traffic from the city and the port until 1964 when finally the Road tunnel was constructed. The Port Hills forms a backdrop to the city, which has a rich and varied Maori and European history and it also has a biological history that stretches back to the last ice age i.e. approximately 14,000 years ago.


The Port Hills are widely visible from far away north and West directions. There are two roads that traverse Port Hills from Christchurch. One is the Dyers Pass and the other is Evans Pass, which is near the eastern end of the Port Hills. There are many important summits in between the Evans Pass and Dyers Pass, amongst which Sugarloaf is one which is easily recognised by the television transmission tower on its summit. Towards the west of Dyers Pass, the Hills curve away southward and becomes even higher and from Coopers Knob the crater rim goes down to Gebbies Pass. There are many suburbs that extend up to the northern slopes of the Port Hills, which includes Cashmere, Mount Pleasant, Heathcote Valley and Sumner. The fertile area of the hills are suitable for farming and forestry and moreover, a good number of reserves are also created purposely on the hills that provide a beautiful scenic view. The Hills are not only restricted to a tourist attraction but also has some public parks and reserves.


Port Hills has great geological formations which include Castle Rock and the multiple Dykes. Port Hills is a natural escape that gives some of the finest panoramic views of the city. The native forest on the Hills varies from small remnant patches of ancient podocarp forest to large areas of regenerating second growth forest. Most of the forests are located between the Rapaki Bay and Gebbies Pass. This natural beauty is also a home for beautiful native birds, that come to city gardens for a visit. The Hills provide a beautiful landscape and distinctive backdrop to the city, harbour and low plains. The rolling tussock grasslands form a unique backdrop to Christchurch and the steep slopes and rock cliffs of the harbour basin provides with a line of agricultural and natural bush elements. The Port Hills skyline has gorgeous rolling slopes providing an aesthetic view from far.

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