Walk from Taylor's Mistake to Godley Head

Published on 2 April 2023 at 18:00

An amazing coastal walk.

Reason #63 as to why we love living in Canterbury is that we are spoilt for choice when it comes to hiking and walking tracks.  Whether you’re in the mood to walk in the hills, between the mountains, listen to bird song in our native forests, or meander along beautiful beaches, Canterbury has plenty of options.  It’s also a low-cost option we use to get out of the house whilst saving for overseas trips.

Located a very scenic 40-minute drive from the Christchurch city center is the most incredible coastal walk. Taylor’s Mistake (a cove named after a sea captain who mistook it for the entry to Lyttleton Harbour) to Godley Head.  This track is around a 9km out-and-back trail which offers views across the Pacific Ocean.

We parked at the public (free) parking located at Taylors Mistake beach, a surf beach with great facilities including public restrooms and showers.  Tip: use the facilities before entering the track as there are no toilets along the way. 

We entered the track by the trail to the RH end of the beach, which has you walking past several classic Kiwi baches built right on the foreshore many years ago.  Sandra asked one of the owners whether they ever come up for sale, but the answer is no.  As they are built on public land, the council have recently granted leasing rights to the current occupants and their families, but they can’t sell them to the public.

At the start of the trail there are several steps, and it is a little steep throughout the journey, which is a small price to pay for the expansive views that await you along the way.  We chose to complete the track on a gorgeous sunny day which meant so did several others.  The track can get busy with trail runners, parents with younger kids and dog walkers, so be prepared to say hello to everyone along the way.  The track is wide and well formed, and you can easily walk past and wave to others who are coming along in the opposite direction.

The end of the walk is officially at Godley Head, but just before that is a clifftop area which is home to the concrete foundations of several large gun placements that were built there in World War Two.  It’s an interesting spot, and a good place to rest and watch kids clambering over everything and letting their imaginations run wild.  At this time in the afternoon the cloud had dropped quite low, which meant that the views at the very end of the walk were going to be obstructed and so we were faced with a decision - to sit and wait to see if the cloud eventually lifted or burned off in the sun, or to head back to have a late lunch.  We figured we had done well and had earned our meal, so we headed back the way we had come.  The views on the way back are a different perspective so it feels like a different walk. 

Upon finishing the walk, the low clouds had disappeared.  We enjoyed the late afternoon sun with a picnic on one of the tables located right on the beachfront.  We have a single-burner gas cooker which we fired up and enjoyed fresh hamburgers, cold drinks, followed by hot coffee whilst watching surfers catching waves and kids and their dogs playing in the sand.  Bliss!

It is a fabulous day out and well worth a visit.  Even if you don’t finish the entire track the views along the way are spectacular.

  • April 2023

Add comment


a year ago

This is also my favourite cycle ride in Christchurch - great piece Sandra you’re a natural!