A popular picnic site, this sheltered clearing is covered by red-brown Dracophyllum, native tussock and a host of small herbs and ground covering plants.
The track leaves Jacks Pass and gradually descends to Broken River, which is crossed on a pole bridge. The clearing is 5 minutes up through mountain beech.
Time: From Lyndon Saddle to Helicopter Hill summit - 30 min one way, 500 m
From Lyndon Saddle the track climbs along a steep ridge with open screes between the beech forests. The top of Helicopter Hill (1256 m) is covered with tussock and low hebes and grasses. From here there are spectacular views of the Craigieburn and Torlesse ranges and the limestone landscape of Castle Hill Basin.
You will also pass patches of felled pine trees that are gradually being cleared from the hill, as this is a major take-off site for wind-blown pine seed to be dispersed across the Castle Hill Basin. Please help by pulling out any pine seedlings you come across.
About 110 km from Christchurch on State Highway 73 towards Arthur’s Pass, is a signposted side-road to the Craigieburn Picnic Area on the Broken River ski field road. Access to Craigieburn Valley is another 1 km further along the highway. Both ski field roads have locked gates further up valley during the summer.
South Island ▷ Canterbury ▷ Springfield
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