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Lake Coleridge and Torlesse Tussocklands

  • 3 minutes

Canterbury, New Zealand

Beautiful remote Lake Coleridge and Torlesse Tussocklands. Explore lucious scenery tucked away on a no exit route. You can’t go any further as there is a stupendously big alpine range (Southern Alps) in the way, There is not a tour coach in sight. Awesome.

Lake Coleridge and Torlesse Tussocklands, Canterbury, NZ
Lake Coleridge and Torlesse Tussocklands, Canterbury, NZ

Torlesse Tussocklands top sights

  • Visibly stunning high country alpine landscape for drivers on state highway 73. The Torlesse and Big Ben Ranges are a smudge on the horizon from the Christchurch Port Hills viewpoint
  • Extremely low rainfall and high elevation have fostered a unique flora and fauna environment. Snow tussock and several species of mountain daisy
  • Some of the best populations of the vulnerable scree pea (Montigena novae zelandiae).
  • Several species of mountain daisy/tíkumu (celmisia) carpet more stable slopes.
  • Native grasshoppers, weta, cockroaches, lizards and butterflies.
  • Kea, falcon/kãrearea and pipit/píhoihoi inhabit grasslands. Look upwards for the soaring flight of a New Zealand predator
  • Tomtit/miromiro, rifleman/títipounamu, brown creeper/pípipi present in the beech forests
  • The area is popular for winter skiing and summer climbing expeditions
  • Picnicking and boating on Lake Lyndon.
  • Botanising, scientific research and natural history studies.
Torlesse Tussocklands Park in fog, New Zealand
Torlesse Tussocklands Park in fog, New Zealand
TORLESSE TUSSOCKLANDS PARK INTERESTING FACT

Extraordinary looking ‘vegetable sheep’ plant inhabits the region. Raoulia rubra is a species of cushion plant with the ability to ‘store’ water. Woolly leaves inhibit water loss from the exposure to wind. Hidden inside the plant are the remains of rotted leaves, which form a mass of peat-like material functioning as internal water storage. Maori name tutahuna. The plant is a member of the daisy family.

Castle Hill Kura Tawhiti Reserve, Canterbury
Castle Hill Kura Tawhiti Reserve, Canterbury

Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park: Places to go in Canterbury territory is well known to experienced trampers and for its great day hikes. Check beforehand weather conditions and follow Department of Conservation safety guidelines in this remote beautiful part of Aotearora New Zealand.

Interested in New Zealand’s unique landscapes scroll through Geology, rocks, NZ fantastic natural sculptural landscapes and get inspired where to go next. Both Torlesse Tussocklands and Lake Coleridge should be explored in concert with Castle Hill Kura Tawhiti Reserve, a stunning karst landscape worthy of any road trip.

Canterbury Lake Coleridge

Lake Coleridge is a mere 24.5km from Torlesse Tussocklands Park state. The road is windy, narrow and definitely explorer territory. While a 4WD makes the journey more comfortable it can be achieved in a saloon car (2WD). Impassible in winter this is a summer treat. The area is part of 8 Off The Beaten Track Places – Best Bits worth the detour to find scenic New Zealand few visitors have encountered.

Lake Coleridge scenic winter landscape, New Zealand
Lake Coleridge scenic winter landscape, New Zealand
scenic Spectacular view of Lake Coleridge surrounded by multiple native trees and forest showcasing a deep blue flow located in the Canterbury Region of the South Is
Lake Coleridge, Canterbury, South Island, NZ

Canterbury, Lake Coleridge top sights

  • Ida Downs – 4WD trips remote high country adventure with local farmers
  • Discovery Jet Rakaia Gorge offer jet boating Rakaia River, heli-jet boat tours, jet boat photography tours, comb tours horse riding and jetboating  and drop offs to fishing spots
  • Join a self-guided high country 4WD tour with High Country Tours
  • Explore the high country on horseback with

Lake Coleridge is alpine with crisp cool mornings, horizon wide clear blue skies. There is a marked temperature range from winter to summer. Hot dry summers summer temperatures  range from 20° – 30°C with winter day temperatures averaging10°C. Mountains are snow capped in winter with sometimes snow falls at lower levels.

Where is Lake Coleridge & Torlesse Tussocklands Reserve located?

From Christchurch 114 km, via via Old West Coast Rd and State Hwy 73.

The main road to Lake Coleridge Village is sealed. Otherwise the roads are unsealed gravel. During winter, the Lyndon Road is officially closed with access via 4WD vehicle, at your own risk.

Check out the small towns of Methven and Darfield and Hororata. Approximately 40 minutes drive from Lake Coleridge. There is no public transport in the Lake Coleridge basin. The nearest public transport is operated from Methven. There are no shops, no petrol stations and cafes.

Lake Coleridge’s stunning deep blue water is deceptive. Swimming is not safe due to water currents.

Travel pack information

Torlesse and Big Ben Ranges were explored by Charles Torlesse, a surveyer for the Canterbury provisional government, led by Mãori guides in 1849. Charles Torlesse was the first European to climb the slopes of the range and gaze at the “romantic and chaotic mass of mountains to the westward”.

Torlesse and Big Ben Ranges were explored by Charles Torlesse, a surveyer for the Canterbury provisional government, led by Mãori guides in 1849. Charles Torlesse was the first European to climb the slopes of the range and gaze at the “romantic and chaotic mass of mountains to the westward”.

Torlesse Tussocklands Park in fog, road to Arthur`s Pass, New Zealand South island
Torlesse Tussocklands Park in fog, road to Arthur`s Pass, New Zealand South Island

A few men with picks, shovels and a government grant of 500 pounds, made the first track over Porters Pass in 1858-9. The original road along which Cobb and Co Coaches climbed the southern flanks of the Torlesse Range is still visible within the conservation park boundaries. Other historic European sites within the park include the old pack track used by the Porter brothers, crossing Coleridge Pass to reach their homestead beside Porter River. The avoca Homestead (1907) and the Mt Torlesse Colleries Coal Mines, which operated from 1918 to 1927, are located in the park near Broken River.

The Torlesse Range is one of the most accessible in the country, located alongside SH73, only 1¼ hours drive from Christchurch. The main access points into the park are the Kowai River (private), Porters Pass, Lake Lyndon Road, Grasmere/Craigieburn Road, and the Porter Heights Skifield Road. Access to some areas requires permission from neighbouring landholders.

There is only one marked track in the park:

  • Trig M from near Lake Lyndon, and via Coach Stream at the bottom of Porters Pass. This is also suitable for mountain biking. An unmarked route continues on to Rabbit Hill.

Possible unmarked routes include:

  • The climb from Porters Pass up Foggy Peak, and beyond to Castle Hill Peak.
  • Kowai River onto the Torlesse Range.

Source ArthurPass Association

There is only one marked track in the park:

  • Trig M from near Lake Lyndon, and via Coach Stream at the bottom of Porters Pass. This is also suitable for mountain biking. An unmarked route continues on to Rabbit Hill.

Possible unmarked routes include:

  • The climb from Porters Pass up Foggy Peak, and beyond to Castle Hill Peak.
  • Kowai River onto the Torlesse Range.

Source ArthurPass Association

 

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