Misty Peaks, Akaroa Skyline

4 September 2022

It was a fine sunny morning as nine enthusiastic folk drove up to the top car park on Stony Bay Road. Much of this zest evaporated when we stepped out of the cars into a biting wind. Some of us wondered if wearing shorts had been a good idea, while others filched clothes from the unwary. Thankfully Mike’s pep talk was short and we were soon on our way along the sheltered first section of the Skyline Walk, following a wide grassy track. We had fine views of Akaroa Harbour and soon reached the point where the track descends slightly and looks out onto the ocean bays. The track remained wide and had enough ups and downs to keep us warm. There was some minor damage from the July rains and a profuse growth of flowering gorse.

We made good time to the top of Lighthouse Road where the wind was not as strong as expected. We enjoyed lunch and photo opportunities. Lacking a teaspoon, Dan had to stir his drink with his sunglasses.

Well fed, we retraced our steps until we reached a sign stating ‘Mt Brasenose 1 hour return’. Some wag had scratched ‘Goat Track’ on it, but we still followed Mike through the tall tussock and scrub. Poles and tags of blue cloth led us up to rocky sections and finally the summit of Brasenose at 785m. From there we had fine views of the harbour and ocean bays. We continued onwards into pine forest and followed an old trail close to the ridge-top, clambering over a few fallen trees along the way. This allowed us to avoid the ups and downs of our morning route and returned us to the Skyline Track at a sunny, flat spot. Most of us opted to walk up to the summit of Flag Peak (809m) while others sunbathed. It was an easy walk up with just a few spaniards to navigate through. Once again, we had fine views, particularly of Childrens Bay, Pompeys Pillar and even Pegasus Bay in the distance.

Some of us were keen to look at the relatively new Aylmer Track which descends to Aylmers Valley Road. Three kindly folk volunteered to drive the cars to the bottom car park and six of us set off on a wide, grassy track just beneath the summit pine forest. It was something of a rude shock when the poles pointed us down a steep ridge, then into the valley below. Thankfully recent nor-west winds had dried out the grass and most of the mud, which would have made the descent tricky. Two CCC rangers created this track, which, as I read later, Suky Thompson of the BP Trust recommends to walk uphill. Close to the bottom, we entered native bush and investigated the nearby Newton’s waterfall before reaching the cars around 4.30pm.

We were: Mike Bourke (leader), Graham Townsend, Chris Leaver, Tim Hines, Andrea Goebel, Dan Pryce, Joy Schroeder, Gavin Chalk and Sue Britain [SB]