The Track

New Zealand’s classic independent walk.

(Open each season from October 1 to April 30)

New Zealand’s original private track prides itself on being an excellent eco-tourism experience. It provides a diversity of wildlife, scenery and hospitality. The unique hike across farmland, alongside the Flea Bay marine reserve and through Hinewai Reserve covers 29 km of spectacular volcanic coastline, native bush, waterfalls and beaches – twice crossing the rim of the caldera. Each night’s cosy accommodation reflects the character, history and individuality of the families who live nearby. Enjoy the diversity of landscape and accommodation in this beautiful part of the country and see why the new three-day classic walk will keep the Banks Track alongside DOC’s “Great Walks” as one of New Zealand’s classic hikes.

Our two self-guided options offer you many of the comforts of guided walks such as hot showers and small numbers, combined with the independence of the freedom walker. Both walks cover the same distance following the same track route and visit the same accommodation but at a different pace – you choose the way you want to walk!

The new section of track explained.
For the past 27 years, the Banks Peninsula Track has been a four-day walk. As you may have heard, this year we have changed the route and reduced it to a three-day experience. We have continued the two-day option and retained all the other features that have worked so well (penguin tour, sea kayaking, pack cartage, sleeping bags, private rooms, the Stony Bay Shop, and numerous side tracks to explore). The route is unchanged from previous years until you leave Stony Bay on day three. The third day starts on the Armstrong farm – a lovely mixture of open valley, bush and creek. Walkers then enter Hinewai Reserve and pass through a variety of different areas of both regenerating and mature bush that are being made accessible for the first time. Highlights include kanuka, tree ferns and some glorious mature red beech with a mixed understory of “too many natives to mention”. Parts of this track follow the route taken by the early settlers travelling between Akaroa and Stony Bay.

See our 90-second video to give you a taste of “the new day 3″  by clicking here.

From Stony Bay Saddle, walkers get stunning views of the outer bays and Akaroa harbour before rejoining the old route down to Akaroa along the Purple Peak Track.

Banks Track – Three Day Classic Walk

The Banks Track three-day classic walk traverses the south-east corner of Banks Peninsula on farmland,  coastal cliffs and through native forest. It is an achievable challenge for most people, even those not experienced in the outdoors. There is no rush and with a guaranteed bed at the end of the day, you can your time, enjoy photo opportunities, side tracks, the views, flora and fauna.

Over three days and nights, you complete a 29km journey that starts and finishes in picturesque Akaroa. You walk across private farmland and along the coast of the south-east corner of Banks Peninsula passing through numerous reserves including Hinewai Reserve and the Pohatu Marine Reserve. The diversity of scenery, flora and fauna, accommodation and views combine to create a stunning experience, one that many people return to enjoy.

Three-day Classic Walk Itinerary

Banks Track – Three-Day Walk Itinerary

5.30 pm pick up (on your booking start date – you begin walking the next day) outside Akaroa’s old Post Office opposite the BNZ.

Prior to 5.30 those with their own transport will need to park their vehicle at Mount Vernon Lodge and walk down to the pick-up point.

Paul or Mafi (your bus driver) will brief you on the key points of the next few days and answer your immediate questions. At this point, you will be given a printed guide to the route (this also acts as your ticket), which is full of useful information about the walk. Keep it and read it!

The bus will transport you to Onuku Trampers Huts (20 minutes drive and a 10-minute walk from bus drop-off point to your hut.)

First night’s accommodation is at the Onuku Trampers Huts.

The following day: Onuku to Flea Bay

4-6 hrs walking.

Pack cartage from Onuku to Flea Bay is an option. This second night’s accommodation is at the Flea Bay Cottage where drinks and chocolate bars are available for sale. A free penguin tour is available in the evening from October to January – information about this is in the cottage.

The following day: Flea Bay to Stony Bay

2-4 hrs walking.

If you are keen you can start the day with a kayaking option within Pōhutu Marine Reserve (subject to sea conditions and to your booking it with Pōhutu Penguin Plunge).

This night’s accommodation is at the Stony Bay Cottages. Full trampers shop supplies are available. There is no electricity here so ensure you have charged batteries the night before.

The final day: Stony Bay to Akaroa

4-6 hrs walking.

This includes walking through some stunning areas of Hinewai Reserve which was opened to walkers for the first time in 2017. Pack cartage from Stony Bay to Akaroa is an option. Most walkers arrive in Akaroa in the early afternoon.  To get a sense of the new Day 3 tour please watch the 90 second Youtube video by clicking here.

Optional extras – private room, sleeping bags, and pack cartage (standard or full pack cartage) are available.

The three-day Classic Walk costs $260 pp.

The season runs from 1st October to 30 April. 

Banks Track –  Two Day Hikers Option

The Banks Track is a spectacular two-day walk. It combines hill, forest, and coastal walks to become a truly memorable experience and a great option for those who like to spend much of their day tramping. It follows the same route as the three-day classic walk, but without an overnight stay at Flea Bay.

This is our hikers option. A high level of fitness is required as the 29 kms includes a lot of hill walking; the track climbs from sea level to nearly 700m twice (once each day) and features rugged exposed headlands. Walkers are encouraged to bring a very light pack and to take advantage of the trampers shop at Stony Bay on night two. All facilities are available to you, whether you are staying the night or just passing by. The two-day track is limited to just four walkers per day, but single groups of up to 6 may be accommodated by contacting us direct.

Two-Day Hikers Option Itinerary

Banks Track – Two-Day Hike Itinerary

5.30 pm pickup (on your booking start date – you begin walking the next day) outside Akaroa’s old Post Office opposite the BNZ.

Prior to 5.30 those with their own transport will need to park their vehicle at Mount Vernon Lodge and walk down to the pick-up point.

Paul or Mafi (your bus drivers) will brief you on the key points of the next few days activities and answer any of your questions. At this point you will be given a printed guide to the route (this also acts as your ticket), which is full of useful information about the walk. Please keep it and read it as it contains invaluable information for your tour.

The bus will transport you to Onuku Trampers Huts (20 minutes drive and a 10 minutes walk from bus drop-off point to hut.) First night’s accommodation is at the Onuku Trampers Huts.

The following day: Onuku to Stony Bay

Morning – Onuku to Flea Bay. 4-6 hrs hiking.

Pack cartage from Onuku to Flea Bay is an option. Tea and coffee are available at the Flea Bay cottage.

Afternoon – Flea Bay to Stony Bay. 2-4 hrs hiking.

The second night’s accommodation is in the Stony Bay Cottages. A specific cottage is set aside for the two-day hikers. On site is a trampers shop with full meal and snack supplies available.

The final day: Stony Bay to Akaroa

4-6 hrs walking.

This includes walking through some stunning areas of Hinewai Reserve which opened up to walkers for the first time in 2017. Pack cartage from Stony Bay to Akaroa is an option. Most walkers arrive in Akaroa in the early afternoon.  To get a sense of the newly tracked area watch the 90 second Youtube video by clicking here.

Optional extras – private room , sleeping bags, and pack cartage (standard or full pack cartage) are available.

The two-day Hikers Option costs $195 pp.

The season runs from 1st October to 30 April. 

Side Tracks

For those who are curious and have the energy, there are over 20km of side tracks to explore along the route where you can enjoy even more spectacular views, waterfalls and wildlife.

These side tracks are detailed in the Banks Track guide booklet you are given at orientation and are well signposted along the way, you can pick up an information leaflet when we enter Hinewai Reserve.

Choose the way you walk

The Banks Track starts and ends in picturesque Akaroa, a 75 min drive from Christchurch and Christchurch International Airport. You can choose the way you like to walk, the three-day Classic walk or the two-day Hikers option.

The Banks Track offers you all the options to enjoy tramping the way you like ~ either with your own supplies, carrying your pack, or purchasing supplies along the way and making use of pack cartage. Walk on your own or with friends and family. Make friends as you walk.

Never Crowded

It is easy to arrange and never crowded on the track, or, at your accommodation as our numbers are limited to 12 walkers per day on the three-day Classic walk and 4 walkers per day on our two-day hikers option.

Take your Time

There are no fixed daily itineraries apart from the night’s destination, you make your own way, in your own time. The three-day classic walk gives you the time to hike the side tracks (all listed in your guide booklet), watch the birds and wildlife, swim, sunbathe, read, play games, beach-comb, or take more photos. You have plenty of time to explore more and relax in the beauty that is Banks Peninsula.

The leisurely pace of this walk makes it an option open to all age groups. It is also excellent as a ‘first tramp’ for the novice walker, or as a first/last tramp for the visitor flying to or from Christchurch airport.

Absolutely the most wonderful experience at every level! Everything about this walk was truly fabulous- from our first contact with the bus driver from Christchurch through to the hospitality of the farmers themselves…the scenery, the pristine countryside….to accommodation and facilities. It way exceeded our expectations…