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This track/s turned out to take three hours as the hill climbs were extensive, but over the 11 kms you get some amazing views of both Christchurch, and the harbour.
But in terms of track markings it was the total opposite of the tracks at Bottle Lake Forest Park. The latter had track signs every few score metres, making it so easy to follow. The tracks around Victoria Park were missing markers at many a fork or intersection, forcing you to guess.
It didn’t help that the visitor’s centre was closes due to quake damage, and hence no track pamphlets available. Anyway I started off down a path to Bowenvale Reserve. The path forked and the fork I chose was the one that goes down steep banks, rather than steps. Eventually rejoined the main track.
Then you walk along the Bowenvale Reserve in a lovely valley. Again they have dispensed with marking the track up the hill, so I walked all the way to the road, and then doubled back until guessing it was the zig zag track on the left.
The zig zag up is a vertical elevation of around 400 metres and you have a few sheep to keep you company. Finally you get to the top, and once again they dispense with anything useful such as clearly marked track names. I guessed that heading towards Sugarloaf would be the right thing to do, and after a short walk along the road (in 30 degree heat!) I saw the Crater Rim Walkway, which I joined and there were stunning views from.
After the crater rim walkway, I took another track around the back of Sugarloaf, which again had some great views. Upon exiting that track I saw the back of a sign, and upon turning around to read it, I discovered the track was closed due to rockfall danger. It really would have been useful for them to put these signs up at both sides of the track – not just one side!
By this stage I was bloody hot and tired and had been mentally anticipating a nice drink at the cafe at the Sign of the Kiwi. Would have been nice for them to have a sign up at Victoria Park itself that Sign of the Kiwi was also closed. I let out a small yell of annoyance, and then proceeded down some path (Harry something) back to the Victoria Park carpark. Once again they neglected to have signs up at any forks, and I choose the fork which took me down around 1 km below the carpark, so finished with a walk back up the hill. Was a rather annoying afternoon, despite the great views. Took me three hours in total.