The Lake Sumner Track makes an excellent day trip from Christchurch. With about 4 hours of biking there is plenty of time to enjoy the amazing scenery and variety this ride offers. No major climbs, but enough variation to make this track challenging.
HOW TO GET THERE (129KM FROM CHRISTCHURCH)
Allow about 1.5 to 2 hours for the 129km trip. From Christchurch, head north and turn off at Waipara towards Hanmer Springs. Turn left at Waikari and carry on through Hawarden. The road veers to the left as you pass through Horsley Downs. After a few kilometers the road turns to gravel for a slow, winding, 30 kilometers to the Lake Taylor car park at the start of the track.
LAKE TAYLOR TO THE FOOT BRIDGE (~2 HOURS ONE WAY)
Starting from the car park at Lake Taylor, you follow the 4WD track which runs along the lakes edge. Once past the lake, the track heads up a straight stretch on a slight incline for a couple of kilometers before winding down towards Loch Katrine.
The next section runs past the Loch towards Lake Sumner. This section has a few rough patches and the odd up and down bit, but there are no major climbs to do.
Once past Lake Sumner, the track goes from being mostly shingle to a flat ride over grass & dirt which can be soft and muddy after it's been raining. After about 3 kilometers you get to the end of the 4WD track where there is a footbridge to take trampers across the river. This is a great spot for lunch, with views back down the river to Lake Sumner and the surrounding mountains.
From here it's a matter of heading back the way you came to the car park at Lake Taylor.