• Activities:

    Chillin, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    6.5 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    328.1 Feet


Enjoy a quick and easy walk up one of New Zealand's beautiful, braided river valleys with just an hour's drive from Christchurch.

This 150 km long Rakaia River starts in the Southern Alps and continues east to be an awesome feature of the Canterbury Plains. The track isn't too long - a great day trip. You'll start where the river opens up and begins to braid, and hike to the gorge, where it narrows.

Getting There:

The trail is easy to access off of State Highway 72, only an hour away from Christchurch. Google Maps will take you straight to the carpark, but the trailhead took a minute to find. Before reaching the one lane bridge crossing the river, and after Zig Zag Road, the trailhead will be on the north side of the street, tucked away in the bush.

Track Information:

The track is easy to follow the whole time and parallels the river on the north side for its entirety. Along the way it'll pass through forest, meadows, and private farmland, and so you'll want to be sure to stick to the trail. There are multiple awesome viewpoints with the Rakaia River spread in front of you and Mount Hutt in the background - great places to stop for a rest and have lunch. Another thing to look out for are the old, abandoned Snowdon coalmines. They're no longer operational, and are now overgrown by the forest, giving them a mysterious, Indiana Jones feel about them. After 5.2km of walking, the track ends at an overlook of the gorge.

This is a great track for a quick, leisurely day trip from Christchurch or any other nearby area.


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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Lucas Boland

Photographer x videographer. Seattle x Fort Collins. I take my mornings slow and think of most of my good ideas after 2 AM. On the hunt for good stories. Cheers!

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