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Today we decided to get out of the house before the next storm hit. We decided to tramp along the coast on a spectacular cliffside trail from Scarborough Head to Taylor’s Mistake. The hike starts out at Sumner, 10km east south east of downtown Christchurch. From near the beach the trail ascends the volcanic cliffs of Scarborough Head (some maps show this peninsula labeled as Sumner Head), winding along the steep cliffs above the sea, just behind some great houses built to take advantage of the great views. The trail winds its way around Scarborough Head, switchbacking up and down a couple of ravines, to end up at the beach at Taylor’s Mistake. Near Taylor’s Mistake the trail passes by several Baches (simple beach houses) precariously perched on top of the wave cut bench at the base of the cliffs. We were met on the trail by a friendly three legged border collie who seemed to enjoy our company. The weather remained agreeable for our hike and provided some interesting cloud formations.

We returned to Sumner Beach along the same route and had lunch at a restaurant along the beach. After lunch we wandered towards Cave Rock, a remnant of a volcanic headland with a cave which runs right through it. You can hike through the cave at low tide.

For a short note on the history of Godley Head and the surrounding area, including Tayloy’s Mistake, click here.

A Topo of Scarborough Head (Topographic Map 260 N36 &N37 Akaroa, Toitu te whenua, Land Information, New Zealand)

A descriptive hiking map from Canterbury Coast: a guide to beaches, bays, and river mouths, by Mark Pickering (pg. 29), published February 2006 by Mark Pickering.

View from Scarborough Head looking towards Sumner Beach.

The trail skirted the properties along the top of the cliff.

Looking southeast from Scarborough Head to Godley Head.

We passed some formidable beasts grazing along the trail.

View of Taylor’s Mistake from Scarborough Head.

Baches located just north of Taylor’s Mistake.

A sign affixed to a rock above this bach reads: “Whare Moki. The original Cave Dwelling erected by the Hobson Family 1891.” Click here to see a photo of the interior of the bach from circa 1910.

These baches have lots of character.

Walking along the beach at low tide just north of Taylor’s Mistake.

Our three legged hiking companion.

A burst of blue flowers.

Storm clouds brewing over Christchurch.

Gaby happy that lunch is on the way.

Cave Rock front door.

Cave Rock back door.