Stony Bay Peak - Mt Brasenose

28 June 2015

With five in one car this was a cheap trip. We parked at the domain in Akaroa, where there are toilets, and were away by 9.30am. We headed up Stony Bay Road by the BNZ and then up Purple Peak Road until we met the wide track up through farmland.

It is a reasonably steep climb but we were up on the saddle in time for some morning tea. There was a chilly wind so we didn’t linger long before following the rougher track through part of the Hinewai Reserve up to behind Stony Peak. We crossed to the peak and enjoyed the spectacular views across Akaroa Harbour. There were a number of other people up there as Stony Bay Peak is a popular place for Akaroa tourists to visit as it is only a short walk from the top of Stony Bay Road.

We headed down through tussock with the occasional spaniard and gorse bush to avoid. There was no longer any of the snow remaining that had been present when Mark and I had done the trip a fortnight before. We headed down Stony Bay Road towards Akaroa for a short distance and met the four wheel drive Misty Peaks Track. It was easy walking and we were soon at a saddle to the right of Flag Peak where we stopped for lunch. Marcus decided to head up Flag Peak and was on the top within 10 minutes. From there we had a number of options: head back and go down Stony Peak Road, head back further and take the track that goes in front of Stony Bay Peak before retracing our steps back down to Purple Peak Road, continue on the four wheel drive track which drops quite low down from the saddle, or head off-track round to Mt Brasenose and along the ridge until it meets Lighthouse Road.

We chose to go to Mt Brasenose and headed off keeping to the left side of the fence-line away from the thick pine forest. There is gorse for a couple of hundred metres that Honora and Frank have cut a track through. Mark and I had trimmed a bit of regrowth and so it was easy to find a route through. We were soon enjoying views from Brasenose before heading further along the ridgeline and going to the town side of one large rocky outcrop. We joined the four wheel drive track for a short distance before heading up the ridge further, until we met Lighthouse Road. We were joined by a young Swiss woman for this last section as she had come to the end of the four wheel drive track and was didn’t know how to get to the road. As there are steep bluffs on the right where the road heads back to Akaroa you do need to stay on the ridge almost to the telegraph poles until meeting the road. Then we had a walk back down the road, which is quite steep in places but has a nice wide grass verge, to Akaroa and then along the waterfront to our cars. We had been over 6 hours and cafes were closing in Akaroa so we stopped at the Hilltop for good coffee and cake.

Sue Piercey