Godley Head Walkway

Godley Head Walkway

Port Hills



6 Rankers Reviews

6 Face-to-Face

496 Walking

61 Christchurch

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!



Godley Head - Christchurch


8 km return | 3 hours return

This is the pick of urban Christchurch walks. WW2 defences on a headland with extensive coastal views.


Some of the military infrastructure is currently closed due to earthquake damage.


From Christchurch City Centre follow signs through Sumner to Taylors Mistake. It gets quite narrow in places. Access is also from Summit Road, reached from Dyers Pass Road.


The Coastal Track (Pilgrims Way) skirts the beach at Taylors Mistake passing some funky old style kiwi baches.

The well-formed track then winds above the sea kelp fringed rocky coast, skirting the northern jaw at the entrance to Lyttelton Harbour.

It's around 1 hour 30 minutes to the gun emplacements and other sundry military buildings, then 15 minutes further to Summit Road.

Descend via the Summit Track (to Breeze Col and trig for the best views) then after the shared mountain bike track (Anaconda Track).

There is no shade on this walk and it gets quite breezy.

Polynesian History

Waitaha and then Ngai Tahu were present in the area. They named Lyttelton Harbour ‘Awaroa’ and the area behind the head Mahoenui, a reference to the mahoe trees growing there.

European History

The significant military remains of Godley Head are administered by a trust - a keen bunch of volunteers with a passion for maintaining the coastal defences.

In 1878, New Zealand became paranoid about the Russians. Governor Jervois, a military engineer in a previous career, bought 22 Rifle Muzzle Loading guns for installation around the coastline. Although none were installed at Godley Head, the idea was mooted. It wasn’t until 1937 approval was finally given for the construction of gun emplacements.

A 60 pounder battery was installed first, shortly after the outbreak of WW2. The Taylor Battery and Godley Battery, with associated magazines, followed. With the threat of Japanese invasion more real, anti-tank and infantry defences joined the ranks. Nearly 3000 personnel were barracked at the Godley Head Fortress area. As the threat receded, the guns were kept on standby but never used. Their value as a deterrent however, protected New Zealand waters from German or Japanese attention.


Feature Value Info


South IslandCanterburyChristchurch


  • Walking
  • Free



Steffen's avatar



Ranking: 8/10

Breathtaking landscape. Wide open.

Reviewed about 3 years ago and experienced in January 2017

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Nicola's avatar



Ranking: 8/10

Nice view, less people.

Reviewed about 3 years ago and experienced in January 2017

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Dylan Scott's avatar

Dylan Scott


Ranking: 7/10

Mellow walk leading to cool ANZAC war relics.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

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Wayne Forrow's avatar

Wayne Forrow

New Zealand

Ranking: 7/10

Medium condition track, great scenery and history along the way with sheep to chase.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

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CraigB's avatar


United Kingdom

Ranking: 8/10

Interesting view of days gone by but little in the way of restoration.

Reviewed over 10 years ago and experienced in March 2009

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Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

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Nick Morrison

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