Mount Herbert rises on the southern side of the crater rim of Lyttelton Harbour to a height of 919 metres above sea level, and is the highest point on Banks Peninsula. From the summit, a bird’s eye view of Canterbury spreads beneath the traveller’s gaze, ranging beyond the miniature Lyttelton below and the wide sweep of the hedged and road-dissected plains, to the angular mass of the Southern Alps and the Marlborough mountains, the highest peaks clad in perpetual snow.
To the south-east the tumbled hills of the peninsula rise around Akaroa Harbour, Lyttelton’s twin volcanic crater. Three million years younger than the Lyttelton volcano, Akaroa erupted nine million years ago and during the next million years buried much of the eastern and south-eastern flanks of the older volcano, the lava overflowing into the crater to build the slope fron Diamond Harbour to the tops, up which the walkway climbs.
The Maori name for Mt Herbert is thought to be Te ahu-patiki, and the Chatham islanders maintain a belief that their ancestors came from the foot of the mountain.