- Approximately 1.5hr drive on SH3 from Christchurch. Park at the DOC campsite at the northern end of the lake. Purple Hill is on the privately owned Craigieburn Station but the managers are happy for people to hike up the hill without first requesting permission.
From the camp at Lake Pearson, it's an hour or so of easy walking along the swampy lake edge to the bottom of a broad ridge running to the summit.
It is steep in places but the rewards, as views of the countryside open up, make it well worth the effort.
It should take around 3.5hr to reach the summit.
Return the way you came, or for a more fun descent read on....
Drop to the south to the top of a long and steep chute of fine gravel. The top third of the chute is soft and consistent and perfect for scree-running down. The lower section becomes harder with larger rocks. At the bottom it is decision time - skirt the lake edge back to where you first started climbing Purple Hill or, as this route suggests, swim 20m across Lake Pearson and walk along the road to the campsite.