Walking in Waimakariri
Attractive and interesting walks can be enjoyed in and around many of the Council's larger parks and reserves. Most can be undertaken by people of all ages. There are also a great selection of walking tracks from 20 minutes to a few hours and community organised walking groups. View the Waimakariri Walking Groups flyer 2016 to find a group near you.
The Waimakariri District has a great selection of walks that will take you along sandy beaches, by lakes, rivers and wetlands, or through native bush.
Some of our popular walks are listed below. The Visit Waimakariri website has an extensive listing of forest, beach and river walks. Contact the Kaiapoi i-SITE Visitor Centre for a copy of the Waimakariri Walking and Cycling Guide, featuring over 50 tracks which are suitable for all levels of fitness.
If you are into heritage you could do a walking tour of our Rangiora Landmarks buildings - download the Landmarks Rangiora Walking Tour brochure (pdf, 259.5 KB).
Pegasus Bay coastal walkway
This section of coastal track runs from the Kaiapoi Riverbanks in Kaiapoi to the Pines Beach and Kairaki coastal settlements. It then heads north along coastal reserve,passing through an extensive strip of Te Kohaka o Tuhaitara Trust land and the settlements at Woodend Beach and Waikuku. The route passes through coastal back dunes stabilised by pine plantation forest. Areas of native planting have been established in some locations and access to the beach can be gained at various points along the way. The total distance of approximately 15 kilometres can take 4-5hours to walk one way.
Although this track has traditionally been seen as a walking route, upgrading and the addition of new sections is helping to improve its multi-use value. The aim is to eventually establish a track network to accommodate walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Te Kohaka o Tuhaitara Trust is closely involved with this work.
Silverstream Reserve is located in a rural setting near the settlement of Clarkville, 4kilometres from the boundary of Christchurch City and 7 kilometres south-west of Kaiapoi. This large reserve is split into two similar-sized areas, east and west. Both are characterised by the clear, spring-fed Silverstream waterway, which meanders through the pastoral setting. Council/community partnerships are helping to re-establish indigenous vegetation throughout the reserve. The eastern area provides an opportunity for visitors to enjoy up to 3 kilometres of walkway within tranquil surroundings. Additional routes are currently under development on the western portion of the reserve.
A reserve car park is located on South Eyre Road, 1.5 kilometres from the Tram Road turn-off. This provides for easy access into Silverstream East Reserve and its walkways. An information sign is located at the car park. There are currently no toilet facilities available and dogs need to be kept on a leash.
Ohoka Stream walkway
This streamside public walkway meanders for 1.5 kilometres through pleasant surroundings between Bradleys Road and Mill Road on the northern side of Ohoka village.
Walk along the beautiful Ohoka Stream and around the historic Ohoka township, strolling past historical homes dating back over 140 years. Download a map and brochure of the Ohoka Stream historic walk from the Visit Waimakariri website.
Matawai Park is a surprising green oasis nestled amongst the residential streets of south Rangiora. It is easily accessed from King Street and other roadside entrances.The park is a recreation and education facility covering four hectares. It is laid out to reflect the native vegetation of Canterbury, with hill country, plains and swamp vegetation all being represented.
Covering 4 hectares of largely swampy ground, the park is a recreation and education facility that continues to be developed. Starting in 1970 with what was, and still is, an unusual concept in park design, more than 25,000 trees have so far been planted.
Explore the park’s many tracks that wind through bushy dells and open into secluded or bigger grassy spaces and provide ever-changing vistas. Great for family walks and picnics.
- Picnic Friendly
- Electric BBQ
- Attractive Wedding Site
30 King Street, Rangiora
Whites Road Reserve
Whites Road Reserve is a former gravel extraction site located in a predominantly rural area. It lies 3.5 kilometres south of Ohoka village at the intersection of Whites Road and Tram Road.
Interest in developing the area came from a group of local residents, who started planting native trees and shrubs around the water filled basin to enhance the site as a public reserve. The Whites Road Advisory Group achieved formal protection for the reserve when the Council classified the area as the Whites Road Recreation Reserve.
Improvements include an easy and pleasant 1 kilometre walk around the now well established lake. The walk passes through native trees and shrubs, which frame the lake and form a buffer between the reserve and surrounding roads. Seating has been installed at key viewing points to allow people to pause and enjoy the views and birdlife.
Whites Road Reserve is an attractive place to picnic alongside the water or stop off for some quiet contemplation.
A small off-road car park is available and dogs must be kept under control at all times.
- Picnic friendly
131 Whites Road, Ohoka
Northbrook Wetlands (Io Io Whenua)
Northbrook Wetlands is a large passive recreation reserve and stormwater treatment area located off Northbrook Road at the southern end of East Belt. The modern-day stormwater treatment facility treats 60% of stormwater from urban Rangiora. This includes runoff from main roads, railway, and industrial areas. Northbrook Wetlands was once the site of early European industry including flax mills, a brewery, fellmongery and a tannery.
Developing the land into a stormwater treatment area and a naturalised wetland system in 2002 involved carrying out major earthworks, installing culverts, bridges, paths and the planting of over 12,500 native plants, including NZ flax (harakeke) and raupo. The development provided a refuge for many wildfowl, both native and exotic including scaup, paradise ducks, black swans, pukeko, fantails and swallows. Platforms located at the water’s edge make attractive spots for people to enjoy their lunch amongst the birdlife.
Local Maori gathered food from the area in pre-European times. With the European establishment of Rangiora town, it became home to a variety of industries, including two flax mills, a brewery, fellmongery and a tannery in the early nineteenth century.
In the 1930s a sewerage system, which included a septic treatment tank with discharge into the Northbrook Stream, was established there and operated for more than forty years. Parts of the brewery and old sewerage system can still be found on site.
By providing habitat for birds, insects and fish, the life-supporting capacity of the site has been greatly restored after many years of industrial use.
A crusher dust pathway leads off the car park at Northbrook Road and provides a relaxing walk around the edge of the ponds on a relaxing 1.5 kilometre circuit walk. Those wanting a longer walk can exit the reserve at the south-eastern end via a paper road leading to Boys Road.
Northbrook Wetlands is pushchair and wheelchair friendly and bikes are allowed, however dogs are not permitted.
- Disabled access
- Picnic tables
- Attractive wedding site
- Viewing platforms
Cnr Northbrook Road and Cotter Lane
Kaiapoi Lakes Reserve
Kaiapoi Lakes is a 25 hectare native reserve of district significance located at the northern end of Kaiapoi, 2 kilometres from the town centre.
Kaiapoi Lakes is known as Nga Tapuwae o Mua (footsteps of the past). In pre-European times the area now occupied by Kaiapoi Lakes was well inhabited as the Kaiapohia Pa nearby to the north was the main settlement for the Ngai Tahu in the central South Island. Several Kaianga (villages) had gardens supporting the fortified Pa located in the immediate vicinity of the Lakes. Because of this history the Lakes are located within an area which contains the highest concentration of recorded archaeological sites in Canterbury.
The reserve is bisected by Main North Road and deep lakes, formed from disused gravel pits, are located on either side of the road. The eastern-most lake is a significant breeding ground for rare water bird species such as the New Zealand Scaup and the New Zealand Shoveler. This birdlife attracts international visitors to the area. This lake is also a significant site for coarse fishing with a Discrete (species limited to coarse and native fish) Coarse Fishery established by the North Canterbury Fish and Game Council.
The south-western most lake has been primarily developed for casual recreation and the tranquil environment is enjoyed by picnickers, walkers and kayakers.
Extensive planting of native species has been carried out over recent years and overall, a very pleasant environment has been created by the mature trees and plants, birdlife, tranquillity of the lakes and their surrounds.
A walk around the lake is a distance of just under 1 kilometre. A car park is provided a short distance off the main road. Dogs must be kept under control and are not permitted within the bird sanctuary area east of the main road.
- Picnic friendly
470,471 and 511 Williams Street, Kaiapoi
Glenvale Walkway Reserve
The green corridor forming Glenvale Walkway extends for 2.2 kilometres around the south-west edge of Kaiapoi township. After running parallel to Christchurch’s northern motorway, it turns sharply at its mid-point, following Kaikanui Stream through to Kaiapoi’s main road (Williams Street). The walk can be extended by 350 metres upon a careful crossing of Williams Street, where an exit is available at Jim Bryden Reserve on Holland Drive.
As well as the stream, other features of the walkway include the Keep Kaiapoi Beautiful Society’s rhododendron garden, an avenue of attractive specimen trees and a variety of native plants. Please keep your dog under close control throughout this reserve.
- Attractive wedding site
- Recreation and ecological linkage
Ohoka Road/Robert Coup Road/Fairweather Crescent/ William Street, Kaiapoi
The Oaks Reserve
Kaikanui Stream can be accessed at The Oaks Reserve in south-east Kaiaopi, where an esplanade walkway runs for 1.3 kilometres through to NCF Park and the south bank of the lower Kaiapoi River. A return to the centre of Kaiapoi can be made along the riverbank, of if walking in reverse direction, via Courtenay Downs walkway which runs beside the railway line from The Oaks Reserve.
Attractions along this walk include the old railway bridge crossing Kaikanui Stream, and Courtenay Lake at NCF Park.
- Recreation and ecological linkage
18 The Oaks, Kaiapoi
Ashley Gorge Reserve
The Ashley Gorge Reserve is located 8 kilometres from Oxford on the south side of the Ashley River where the gorge exits to the plain and is formed from several sloping terraces nestled in amongst the hills.
It has a backdrop of steep slopes, covered on two sides with native beech forest. Its northern boundary provides access to the Ashley River which is a major attraction to the area.
The closest area of foothills natural bush to Christchurch, which is readily accessible to the public, is contained within the reserve. Other parts of the reserve have been cleared and replanted with exotic plant species. These now form mature exotic woodland areas.
The top terrace of the reserve has been developed as a campground and the other terraces as open space for casual recreation pursuits such as picnicking, walking, ball games and so forth.
The overall character attributed to the reserve is of an ‘area of natural beauty and tranquil atmosphere created by the gently flowing river, mature trees, native bush and birdlife’.
Part of the reserve’s attraction is the visual beauty of the bush across the river. The massed species of plants that are there add to this, for example, the Kowhai trees in flower are a spectacular sight.
The character of the reserve provides a distinct contract to the dry, open landscape of most of Canterbury. The reserve’s natural attributes combined with good swimming holes and bush walks are scarce in Canterbury and attract large numbers of people from a wide catchment, especially during the warmer months.
Short informal bush walks loop through the terraces at the rear of the reserve and river walks to nearby swimming holes can be enjoyed in suitable conditions. Dogs are not permitted on the bush walks.
- Picnic tables
709 Ashley Gorge Road, Oxford
A fun and interesting way to explore Kaiapoi is by cycle or on foot - meander along the banks, see birdlife, seascapes and great fishing holes. You can choose the route and length of your ride or walk, along the riverbank and across the Kaiapoi river bridges.
A number of attractive and historically interesting parks and reserves are linked together along the Kaiapoi River as it flows through the town of Kaiapoi. A continuous riverside pathway passes through these sites, providing opportunities for relaxation and exercise while enjoying the surroundings. Other interesting walks connect to the riverbanks and pass through attractive park areas within Kaiapoi.
Mears Track, Oxford
Located only five minutes drive from Oxford, this walking track is one of the last stands of native bush close to the township, and is a QEII Covenant.
There is a sealed car park on Crallans Drain Road, approximately 1 kilometre from the Bush Road turnoff.
The track is well marked with native plants identified, and is a great place to introduce young children to walking in the bush. The track incorporates seating and a lookout. Mears Track is approximately 20 minutes return walk.
Mike Kean Walkway
The braided Ashley River is home to the wrybill and the riverbed is a significant breeding ground for this endangered bird.
This walking track follows alongside the Ashley River, starting by the Ashley River Bridge picnic area at Millton Avenue.
Follow the winding track to the railway bridge and return along the stopbank or track.
Informal mountain biking tracks are formed along and on either side of the stopbanks of the Ashley River in this area - cyclists take care and watch for other track users.
- Picnic friendly
- Electric BBQ
- Tables and seats
This walkway starts on the stopbank at the end of Park Terrace, Waikuku Beach, and you can choose from following the track down into the lagoon area or continuing along the stopbank to the SH1 road bridge. Return along riverbed tracks, with options of rejoining the stopbank track. The riverbed tracks lead to the Ashley River mouth, and at low tide the estuary can be crossed and a return along the beach or estuary.
See views of the Ashley River, Saltwater Creek Estuary and the Ashley River mouth. This area is a significant breeding area of migratory birds and is the spawning ground of whitebait (inanga).
Mountain biking is possible along the stopbank and on the riverbed tracks - cyclists take care and watch for other track users.
Rakahuri Trail and Rakahuri MTB Park
The Ashley Rakahuri Regional Park is a recreational area developed by Environment Canterbury by the Ashley River, just north of Rangiora. The first stage opened in Spring 2012 and is located from Groyne No. 1 (access from stopbanks by the Rangiora Racecourse, end of West Belt and River Road) through to just east of the rail bridge, at the end of East Belt.
The tracks have been developed for mountain biking and walking. The Rakahuri Trail's track length is nearly 4 kilometres. Car parking and new picnic areas have been established along the trail.
A dedicated mountain bike park, Rakahuri MTB Park, has been developed by the North Canterbury Cycling Club in the forest area at the end of East Belt, which is a great area of single tracks off the Rakahuri Trail. The Rakahuri MTB Park is a great area to explore on your mountain bike, and an ideal place to introduce children to mountain biking.
The Rakahuri Trail and Rakahuri MTB Park brochure (pdf, 843.3 KB) has a map of the walking and mountain biking trails.
The Pegasus Lake is a great destination for walking and cycling, with a formed track all the way round - 20-45 minutes return.
Te Kohanga Wetlands
Te Kohanga is the 97 hectare recreation and conservation area of Pegasus. Work has been underway to create a range of natural habitats so that it will once again support the variety and numbers of native plants and animals that once lived here.
Formed pathways and boardwalks allow easy walking and cycling along this area.
Tuhaitara Coastal Track
Access to the Tuhaitara Coastal Park can be gained from Pegasus. A mountain bike track can be ridden between Woodend and Waikuku Beaches (5 kilometres each way).
Tūhaitara Coastal Park
Tūhaitara Coastal Park covers approximately 700 hectares of land along the coastline from the Waimakariri River mouth to the settlement of Waikuku Beach. Stretching along the coast for 10.5 kilometres, it comprises many natural features of local, regional and national importance. It is under the management of the Te Kohaka o Tūhaitara Trust.
The Tūhaitara Coastal Park is a special environment that offers ecological, educational, cultural and recreational opportunities for all who visit.
Tūhaitara Coastal Park can be accessed from Kairaki, The Pines Beach, Woodend Beach, Pegasus Town and Waikuku Beach. There is car parking at all of the beaches and access to the walking and cycling trails. Horse access to the park trails and the beaches is from Reid Memorial Ave at The Pines Beach, Ferry road at Woodend Beach or Kiwi Avenue at Waikuku Beach.
More information and a map can be found on the Te Kohaka o Tūhaitara Trust website.