This walk showcases some of Canterbury's most spectacular coastal views, a penguin colony, quirky old baches and a slice of New Zealand's military history.
Start: Taylors Mistake car park.
Finish: Same as starting point.
Time: 3-hour circuit.
Toilets: Located at Taylors Mistake car park and Godley Head car park.
Dogs: Must be kept on a leash.
The track starts from the car park at Taylors Mistake beach, one of Christchurch's premier surf breaks and a great spot for swimming and picnicking in summer. Pick up the walkway on the southern side of the bay that leads towards Godley Head, past a row of historic baches.
The track hugs the coastline, offering views back to Whitewash Head and across Pegasus Bay to the Kaikoura Ranges. Keep an eye out for wildlife along the way. There are a variety of seabirds, including white-flippered penguins nesting along this coastline. If you are lucky you may spot a pod of rare Hector's dolphins, some seals or even a whale.
At Boulder Bay it is worth detouring down to the baches lining the rocky beach. The history of the characterful baches dates back to the 1880s, when fishermen started building up the mouths of caves to provide shelter for their weekend's fishing.
From here follow the track that hugs the coastline up and around the headland. This area is the site of a WWII coastal defence battery with gun emplacements, old military buildings and tunnels. Continue up the track towards the Godley Head car park – if you've organised transport, finish here. You can also return the same way. However if you want to complete the circuit, follow the Crater Rim Walkway east for about half an hour. The track takes you through dramatic rocky scenery with views across Lyttelton Harbour.
At Breezes Col, cross the road and start down the Anaconda bike track. Watch out for downhill mountain bikers who have the right of way on this section. About 10 minutes from Breezes Col, take the 4WD track on your right that branches off past a power pole and connects back on to the Godley Head walkway. Follow this track back to Taylors Mistake.
Find out more about Godley Head from the Department of Conservation(external link).
Sections of this track form parts of the Crater Rim Walkway and Head to Head Walkway.