From here the Heritage Trail, a shortcut across the headland, can be taken back to Sumner, forming a loop. The vigorous walk is stunning on a good day, particularly in Spring and Summer when the wildflowers along the coast are blooming. Note that although there is ample walking space, the cliff edges are precipitous and unfenced.


This walk is easily accessible from Christchurch--the #3 (Sumner/Mt Pleasant) bus runs regularly from the Square (telephone BusInfo, 366 8855, to check times). Keener walkers can connect up with the Godley Head Walkway, which begins at Taylors Mistake, making a 4-5 hour round trip.

Sumner - Taylors Mistake via the Scarborough Walk & Taylors Mistake Track: easy

At the end of the Esplanade, Scarborough Road continues around the coastline of Sumner Head before climbing in a zigzag into the suburb of Scarborough. Follow this road as far as the first bend, then take Whitewash Head Road as it continues around the coastline. Soon the road ends at a car park and Scarborough Walk begins. The walk climbs with zigzags, steps and regular seating onto the cliff. Where once there was a large grassy plateau, recent housing developments have left a strip barely 25m wide. Spotted shags nest on the cliffs and can be seen along with gulls flying around here. The walk continues past the houses to a junction where a track climbs to Nicholson Park. From the junction the dirt trail of the Taylors Mistake Track wanders along the cliffs past further housing and farmland until it turns into the bay of Taylors Mistake and drops down nearer to sea level. Next to the first bach on the shoreline steps lead down onto the beach and the andesite rubble, which you can walk along if the tide is out. This route gives a good view of the cave-baches of Hobson Bay. Otherwise you can continue along the track past a junction where another track leads to Hobson Bay. Soon you come out onto a little road situated by the Taylors Mistake Surf Lifesaving Club building. The beach at Taylors Mistake is popular with swimmers in summer. There is ample parking at Taylors Mistake.

Taylors Mistake - Sumner via the Heritage Trail: easy

From Taylors Mistake you can return to Sumner over the Heritage Trail which is a poled route across farmland, providing excellent views of Sumner and Christchurch. From the Surf Lifesaving Club follow the short road back along the beach to the end where it meets the Taylors Mistake Track. Walk along here, turning left where the sign indicates Hobson Bay. Soon you will pass a sign indicating the Heritage Trail up a few steps on your left. A series of chocolate brown and yellow poles begins here and marks the way back to Sumner. At the top of a few steps the track follows alongside the Taylors Mistake Track northward a few metres before coming to a long, rough staircase that climbs to the road. Across the road, the trail climbs through farmland onto a saddle where more building development is occurring. A vehicle track leads inland a short way and then the poled route continues and becomes paved as it descends into Sumner and another car park.