Christchurch, New Zealand

Taylors Mistake/Boulder Bay/Godley Head

Wikimedia Commons

The Taylors Mistake/Boulder Bay area, located 30 minutes southeast of Christchurch, is a gorgeous area to explore on foot. This is an easy to moderate trail run along what’s known as the Godley Head Walkway, consisting of a more gentle coastal path along Taylors Mistake Beach (a popular beach area), yielding to the slightly more challenging Boulder Bay Walkway, with ups and downs above the water leading out to Godley Head. There’s a lighthouse and remnants of WW2 fortifications. There are numerous additional — and more challenging — trails in the area for those who like. We’ve mapped an 8.5 km out and back route from Taylors Beach to the Godley Head car park, but a 6.6 km out and back option saves a more challenging climb.

Starting at Taylors Mistake Beach car park off Taylors Mistake Rd., the first section is a 1.4 mile out and back heading west on the Taylors Mistake Bay path, along the beach. This part is easy and flat. Then, head east toward Godley Head, on the Boulder Bay Walkway. There are a couple of ups and downs here, but it is runnable. At the 2.7 km mark, reach Harris Bay Cave.

Godley Head Trail (Freewalks.NZ)

Shorter, Easier Option: After another 1.3 km past Harris Bay Cave (~4 km mark), the route gets hillier and more challenging — this would be a good spot to turn around, making for a 6.6 km out and back.

Longer, More Challenging Option: Continue along the walkway, turning right and continuing toward the Godley Head Car Park (known as Jacobs Ladder), for a climb of ~ 1 km, rising 120m. There are additional trails in the area for even more exploring. For the return, retrace your steps. Alternative Return: you can use the trail known as The Anaconda, which parallels Summit Rd. It is windy, hilly, and mre challenging, popular with mountain bikers.

Essentials
  • Full route is 8.5 km out and back. A 6.6 km out and back eliminates a major hill climb
  • Full route is 274m (901 feet); The shorter option eliminates a steep, 120m hill climb
  • Taylors Mistake Car Park
  • Car generally required to get to this area