This track is part of the Te Ara Pātaka/Summit Walkway.
This well signposted track passes through a farm, following vehicle tracks up a native bush-filled valley. The track goes through pasture and then forest, crossing the valley stream several times. In the summer you can use stepping stones to cross, but be prepared to get wet feet if the stream is up after rain.
The track eventually climbs steeply onto a big spur. From here you can see over Kaitorete Spit and Lake Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere. You can also see along the coast towards Ashburton. The track then follows the open spur before reaching a farm track through the Parkinsons Bush Reserve. This reserve is a small but important stand of native forest.
The track then leads to the saddle and the historic stone Packhorse Hut, well situated for the views. Packhorse Hut makes a great place for a sheltered lunch stop if completing this walk in a day or a night stay for families or those travelling the Te Ara Pātaka track.
Mountain biking is not allowed on this section of Te Ara Pātaka/Summit Walkway.
From Christchurch, take SH75 to Kaituna Valley Road. Turn left into Parkinsons Road after 6 km. Park near the road end where the track starts. This offers much more secure parking than Gebbies Pass.
Stinging plants – There are onga onga / native stinging nettle plants in the reserve. These are trimmed back from the track. The nettles are food for native red admiral butterflies, however they do have a very strong sting.
The stream is normally shallow but can flood in heavy rain.