Mt Lyford Walks

Seedling on Totara Ridge


Many days can be spent ambling the Mt Lyford village environment. The walks described here can often be linked together to form long day walks or taken in small bites of several hours. There are not always clear tracks but the terrain is not dangerous and going from landmark to land mark will mean you do not get lost, even if there is the occasional bush crash, or swampy patch.

A walk or drive up the Ski Field Road opens up many walking possibilities. Along the ridge from Mt. Lyford (13) to the Terako ski field (22) for example.

These numbers throughout refer to those on the main map (not on the web as yet).

Lulu Creek

There is a track down from the back of "Pokaka" (lot 33 -- (1) on the map) down to the creek. It is about a 5 min walk. Once in the creek there are several options. Follow the creek up or down stream, expect to get your feet wet. Up stream you can climb out at the Rose's place (23). Down stream you could go to go to the road to the Mt Lyford homestead, or go up sooner to come out at the the start of Lulu's Lane near the Kennedy-Levy palace (3). OUr favourite option from here is to head on up to "The Stumps".

The Stumps

The long paddock on the other side of Lulu's Creek is called "The Stumps" (2). About 20 meters down from where the track from "Pokaka" hits the creek there is a rout up to the paddock. It is marked by plastic strips tied to the bushes. From "The Stumps" there are several other walks:

The Stumps to the start of Lulu's Lane

An interesting 1.5 hour round trip. There is no definite track, but easy route finding and it can be a minor adventure! Go to "The Stumps". A legis walk through the grass will take you down hill past several big solitary trees and some old stumps. Heading right there is a prominent Kishkes. Cross a fence and head down through regenerating Manuka past the big old tree. There is another fence to cross and then a bush crash to Lulu's Creek. It can be quite steep in places. There is a track from the creek up to the Kennedy-Levy house and onto the road.

Here is a view from Lulu's Lane looking up at Kishkes and the rout down to the creek.


The Whales Back Creek

Anywhere from "The Stumps", from the top or right down low, head into the Whales Back Creek. You can then follow the creek till it joins the Mason River (9). Follow the Mason River till you find a spot to scramble up to the main Inland Kaikoura road. From there one way back to the Village is over the Reforested hill, (7) to (8) on the map.

Allow a half day for this walk and be sure the rivers are not in flood!

Crystal Saddle

Lake Crystal can be approached from various routes. The lake Crystal Saddle is the point from which you can go on to climb up to Mt Lyford along the ridge (12) or head down to Lake Crystal (14).

To get to the saddle from "The Stumps" just head on up. Cross the fence line and go slightly downhill before crossing a stream and then heading steeply up, climb over a fence before coming to the top of the saddle with views down to Waiau with Banks Peninsula and the sea in the distance. There is a well used animal track that heads down to lake Crystal .

Here is a view of Mt. Lyford looking up at the Crystal Saddle from the Wandle basin (17).

Mt. Lyford.

Another good walk involving lake Crystal is from the Wandle Basin (17). The Mountain Bike Track was cut in 1999 it starts above the basin at the end of the four wheel drive trails. It heads up steeply through bush and grass and then heads left into the bush and comes out at the lake. It continues past the lake through bush all the way to meet the Ski Field road not far from where it crosses the Wandle river.

Mt. Lyford.

From the Lake Crystal Saddle it is possible to follow the ridge up through bush, then alpine scrub and scree.

Totara Ridge

Plant photos


Totara Ridge

This ridge goes from the other side of the Wandle up through the grassy slope and then through regenerating Totara to meet the road just above where it crosses the Wandle River.  This route combines well with the "Mountain Bike Track" to form a round trip from the Wandle basin, through bush avoiding the road.

From the Wandle basin cross the river near the "gravel grill" and head on up near the cairn. We have marked the lower part through the bush with small plastic strips tied to bushes.  The going is pleasant enough, but there is no definite track.

The Powerline Route

From near where the Mt Lyford road meets the Main Inland kaikoura road (6) head down into the unnamed stream.  Join the overgrown road that goes under the powerlines and more or less follow it all the way back to where it joins the main Mt. Lyford road (4). 

At one one point you go past a derelict house, and have to cross the creek again, which can be a bit of a scramble! 

Looking up at the powerline walk area from the Mt. Lyford road:



Wild Horse Ridge

An adventurous walk is to go all the way from the bottom to the top of the big ridge (10) south east of the village on the other side of the creek.

It is easiest to do this from the highest point on the Powerline route, where there is a cattle track that takes you up onto the ridge.

Keep following the ridge but it is not always straight forward. There are fences to climb over and places where it is hard to avoid some serious bush crashing.

The route comes out in the four wheel drive area at the top end of the village (11).

Disclaimer: Mentioning these walks here does not imply permission to walk on the private property involved. Part of the plan for this guide is to work towards establishing that permission.

The names of various features is simply what we have come to know these places by and we would be happy to stand corrected if there are other names that are in local usage.

Comments and suggestions and ideas for more walks to [email protected]

Walter on a walk!