Halswell Quarry - Crater Rim - Cracroft Caverns Reserve

Saturday 8 October 2022

The Sugarloaf Hills sector of the Christchurch 360 Trail is 18km long, so our nine chose to shorten it and go from Halswell Quarry to the Sign of the Kiwi, then down the Harry Ell track to Princess Margaret Hospital. Two carloads parked outside the quarry’s single men’s quarters and headed on this cold, windy morning up the track which gives the walker great views into the former quarry. Excellent lookout points with information boards gave us a good idea of how the quarry operated.

Mountain bikers passed us as they struggled up the Kennedys Bush Track. Once on the crater rim we were relieved to be sheltered from the NE wind by native tree plantings and the prolific gorse and broom. There are other tracks along the Crater Rim to lead the unwary astray but sharp-eyed trampers kept us on track. We arrived at the Sign of the Kiwi at noon and on this sunny Saturday, joining the masses of people there for lunch. The Harry Ell track is in trees and in the lea of the NE wind, so was a warmer walk. At the Sign of the Takahe we walked down Dyers Pass Road to Hackthorne Road and with guidance from Mary we turned sharply onto Lady Polson Lane. The two of us leading at the time had missed it. The lane led us into Cracroft Caverns Reserve and though we looked around, hoping to see where the caverns were, we are none the wiser.

Back at PMH, Mary took the drivers to the quarry to retrieve their cars and most of us would have been home by 3pm. A good little work-out for: Doug Forster, Helen Harkness, Kyung Sang Lee, Joy Schroeder, Graeme Nicholas, Sonya Donaldson, Mary McKeown, Wendy Templeton and Kerry Moore. [KM]