The drive out to the Peak Hill track sets you up for the sweeping views that are set to blow your mind.
The track is rightly regarded as one of the best shorter walks in Canterbury. Your three or four hours of walking will be rewarded with vistas that will leave you in awe of the majestic high country.
Peak Hill is accessed off Algidus Road, which can be picked up off the Coleridge Intake Road some 5km before Lake Coleridge Village, or by going through the village and up the windy, steep gravel road.
From a signed parking area off Algidus Road there is an easement over private land and then a clearly marked route with cairns to the summit.
My recent return to the popular spot started with a walk around the edge of a bountiful field of swedes that were bursting from the ground and destined for the cows.
The grunty first climb offers views of the eastern end of Lake Coleridge and the mighty Rakaia Gorge.
There is some loose gravel to tackle, which will be more challenging on the descent.
Beware also the dreaded spaniard grass, which is waiting for you on the twists and turns of the lower slopes.
From the fence line the track continues to climb and follows a narrow ridge for a while where you will feel on top of the world.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) classifies the track as expert, simply because it is exposed and can be hit with sudden changes of weather. Check the forecast, carry extra clothing and be prepared to turn around if you need to.
On a clear, windless day the walk is simply one of the best .
The steady climb rewards you with views across the western arm of Lake Coleridge, the Ryton River and out towards the headwaters of the Rakaia and Wilberforce rivers.
The top at 1240m is marked with a stacked stone cairn and and an information board. There is plenty of space on the flat plateau to escape your fellow walkers and to enjoy the peace, solitude and views while having lunch.
The track will take regular walkers between two and three hours to the top and around 90 minutes to descend. The walk will stay in your memory and you will be keen to return to experience it again.
-By Mick Jensen