"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you" - Isaiah 55:12

30 March 2013

Double Hill - 24 October 2009

I chose Double Hill to introduce the family to tramping in the Canterbury high country, although to call it tramping probably over-states the nature of the trip. Standing at just 699m, Double Hill is a mere bump on the south bank of the Rakaia River, but its isolation from the surrounding peaks means it offers decent views of the area.

The drive into the area is worthy of mention in its own right. Having turned onto Blackford Rd just south of the Rakaia Gorge the road winds its way along the foot of the Hutt Range, which rises up over 1500m from the riverbed to the principle summit of Mt Hutt (2185m). The seal ends shortly after leaving the main highway (this also triggers a change in the road's name, which now becomes Double Hill Run Rd) but the surface was superb, despite being unsealed, and the 45km drive to Double Hill itself was uncomplicated.

It was very hot on the day of our visit, and while it was great to stretch our legs after the long drive we quickly discovered that climbing to the summit wasn't going to happen with the kids today. Instead, we chose to take a more direct line across the rolling slopes to find a picnic spot on the northern side of Double Hill, looking over the Rakaia and, thankfully, out of the sun. There was plenty to keep the eye wandering and the mind dreaming of trips deeper into the backcountry around us. Directly across the Rakaia lay the Rolleston Range, the peaks snow capped after a recent spring storm, while looking upstream the Mathias valley opened invitingly, urging one to come and explore. Behind us to the south rose the Palmer Range, with the green terraces of Glenariffe and Double Hill stations at its' feet. It was a day for relaxing and enjoying being amongst a spectacular landscape so easily reached.

If you're looking for an easy family outing in the hills, then Double Hill is well worth a visit.

On the road to Double Hill, Hutt Range on the left

High country farming, with Peak Hill in background

Hot work! - rest stop after about 10 minutes

Looking across to the entrance of the Wilberforce valley

Back down the Rakaia, terraces of Glenariffe on the right

Rakaia River and the Rolleston Range

Palmer Range

Mt Oakden

Rakaia River, a classic Canterbury braided river

Crown Copyright - Land Information NZ

Access: Turn off SH72 about 3km south of Rakaia Gorge onto Blackford Rd. Follow this for about 45km, Double Hill is the unmistakable twin-summited hill close to the river.

Time: 1-2hrs to the summit

Map: BW19 Taylors Camp

Hut: None

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