Tuesday, March 3, 2009

2009. Circular Cass Ridge Track and Ellas Track

2009. Lyttelton Harbour view from Sign of the Bellbird carpark, Port Hills, Christchurch

Beneath louring clouds I parked my car at Sign of the Bellbird carpark, as I wanted to walk the circular trail going along Cass Ridge Track below Cass Peak, then return via Ellas Track.

The walk went through open bush, unlike gloomy Kennedys Bush trails the other side of Summit Road. Above the carpark, I found a big stone seat with a black granite plaque which stated:


With views over Governors Bay, Lyttelton Harbour and Banks Peninsula, Connors and Roiri had a fine memorial.

2009. Lyttelton Harbour view from Connor - Roiri seat near Sign of the Bellbird, Port Hills

According to a Christchurch City Council website, "Cass Peak is historically known to the local Maori as O-Rongo-Mai 'the place where voices are heard'... where about 300 years ago invading Ngai Tahu [sic] slaughtered a hunting party from the Ngati Mamoe Pa after detecting them by the sound of their voices."

2009. Wind-blown native bush at top of Cass Ridge Track, near Sign of the Bellbird, Port Hills

Native trees leaned towards Summit Road, treetops shaped by Pacific winds from Lyttelton Harbour. Mown track below Cass Peak began with new native plantings. I passed broom, blackberries, bracken, cabbage trees and beech trees, trunks covered in lichen.

After passing Corokia cotoneaster wire-netting bushes, I found another stone seat overlooking Governors Bay, Lyttelton Harbour and cloud-covered Mount Herbert and Mount Bradley on Banks Peninsula.

At track fork a wooden sign stated:


An attached aluminium sign stated:


After the sign, mown grass stopped, but someone had hacked bracken, leaving brown tops on slippery grass along Cass Ridge Track. I passed an old style, beside a fire-blackened post, which had a circular metal tag nailed on top stating: BOUNDARY MARK.

2009. Cass Ridge Track overlooking Head of the Bay, Mount Herbert & Mount Bradley on Banks Peninsula

2009. Southwards view of Coopers Knobs from Cass Ridge

2009. Southwards view of Cass Peak from Cass Ridge Track

2009. Cass Ridge northwards view of Ohinetahi Bush & some Crater Rim peaks: Mount Ada, Marleys Hill, Hoon Hay Hill, Sugarloaf

I passed through a small gate with a view of Mount Herbert, then zig-zagged down Cass Ridge Track past gorse and more weeds till I came across the CASS RIDGE TRACK and ELLAS TRACK junction. I walked down to the end of Cass Ridge over cow dung and sheep dung, through tussock grass.

I had a good look at Ohinetahi Bush below and Mount Ada above on my left; Governors Bay and Ohinetahi below; and Gebbies Pass with wind turbine and Coopers Knobs on my right. Below Cass Ridge, sheep ran away when they heard my camera switch-on jingle.

2009. Cass Ridge view of cloudy Mount Herbert & Mount Bradley

2009. Cass Ridge view of Governors Bay, Head of the Bay, Quail Island & Charteris Bay

As I didn't want to go further down Cass Ridge Track towards Ohinetahi, I returned up Cass Ridge Track to the junction and walked up Ellas Track to my car. Along Ellas Track, I stopped at a wooden bench to swig CocaCola and admire views over Governors Bay, Quail Island and Lyttelton Harbour.

2009. Ellas Track hebe

2009. Ellas Track view of Lyttelton Harbour

After passing through another small gate, I snapped white-flowering, mountain akeake, Olearia avicenniifolia, which grew along both tracks - spearhead shaped leaves and beige, ventral leaf surfaces. I snapped lilac flowering hebes too. The circular dawdle below Crater Rim took me one hour. I had both tracks to myself and heard no voices.

2009. Ellas Track mountain akeake, Olearia aviceniifolia

2009. Ellas Track below Sign of the Bellbird: Summit Road Society Info Board - Ohinetahi Reserve & Hoon Hay Reserve tracks

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

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