This classic trip snakes along the summit ridge of Banks Peninsula. You score fantastic views but it can be bitterly cold. Ensure you carry the Akaroa (N36) topo map. Note: there is restricted access during lambing (August - October).
Park up at Little River (about 50 minutes from Christchurch on the Akaroa Highway (SH 75)). As you leave town the road swings right, continue straight ahead and cycle on up Port Levy Road. It's a steady climb to the saddle with a couple of steep pitches. Expect it to take an hour.
At the saddle go through the gate on your right and climb the grassy track. Walkway signs mark the track. Drop down the grassy paddock to Waipuna Saddle, cross two fences and climb up to a knoll. Cross another three fences before dropping down a short fun single track and beginning the climb up Mt Fitzgerald. Initially you'll traverse on a tricky single track before climbing on a 4WD track to Mt Fitzgerald. Cross a stile and grovel down the scrubby track to another saddle before climbing through regenerating totara forest to Mt Sinclair. Cross a few more fences as you descend through wet forest to a grassy paddock on a broad ridge. You'll see a TV transmitter and a small green hut on the hill ahead of you.
Don't climb the track to them - take the gravel farm track to the left which links up with Pettigrews Road and eventually hits the Summit Road. Hang a right and zoom along for a few minutes before slamming on the brakes at the Hilltop Pub. In the winter a roaring fire will rekindle your spirits before blasting off to Little River. Take Harmans Track, a rough 4WD track on your right, off the top of the Akaroa Highway. A few minutes later, with molten brake pads, you'll be back on the main road, pedalling through Cooptown back to the gastro delights of the Little River Country Store.
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