GPS Coordinates: -43.589, 172.698
Wind Direction: LIGHT WINDS
Minimum Pilot Rating: PG2 / HG Advanced
Access: It is not possible to drive to Castle Rock due to the post-earthquake closure of Summit Road between the Gondola station and Rapaki track. Walk from either the Gondola, or top of Rapaki track.
Take-off: Walk up (above the road), over the style and up to the summit ridge. The take-off area is just below the trig point. You will find it rocky and small. (i.e. just enough room for one glider to launch).
Landing: Top landing is possible in light winds at Upper Cass.
There are two options:
Heathcote Domain (Cricket Pavilion) closest to the tunnel entrance. This landing option is small and not suitable for hang gliders. DO NOT LAND here if there is a cricket or football match in progress.
Ferrymead Domain is located further out towards the Ferrymead heritage park and estuary. This is the best option for hang gliders.
CAUTION: Both LZ’s will be turbulent if the NE has arrived.
Flying: Castle Rock faces due north and is a good thermic site in the right conditions. The spur leading up to Castle Rock provides good trigger points for thermals. Once you have climbed out, it is then possible to fly along the peaks of the summit ridge or for the more adventurous you can go for the crossing over Lyttelton Harbour.
Be wary of the NE sea breeze arriving. You can monitor the NE by looking at the sea in Lyttelton Harbour and the Heathcote estuary. As soon as you see signs of a strong sea breeze (i.e. wind lines, white caps, kite surfers) it’s really time for you to be landing. If it is too late and the NE has already arrived in good strength, then you should either top land on the summit ridge or fly well out into the Ferrymead Valley and try one of the paddocks near the Heritage Park.
DO NOT FLY in a NW, unless you are positive the NW is <20 km/h at all altitudes.