Travis Wetland
Image: John Osgood | Creative Commons


Find out about wetlands in Canterbury, including braided rivers.

Canterbury's wetlands are a haven for migratory bird and fish life, making an important contribution to New Zealand’s ecological diversity with species like the Canterbury mudfish and the kakī/black stilt found no where else in the country.

Braided rivers

The braided rivers of Canterbury are a special feature of the region and account for 60% of the braided river habitat of New Zealand. Their  wide shingle beds, numerous snaking water channels and highly variable flows, provide habitat for several of New Zealand's endangered wildlife species.

See Upper Waitaki braided rivers 

Wairepo Kettleholes Conservation Area

This conservation area covers approximately 400 hectares in the Mackenzie Basin. When dry the kettleholes reveal a rich plant-life of very small herbs, which form a dense turf. When wet they are an important feeding area for a host of wading and wetland birds.

Visit Wairepo Kettleholes Conservation Area

Ō Tū Wharekai - Ashburon lakes/upper Rangitata River

Ō Tū Wharekai is one of the best examples of an inter-montane wetland system remaining in New Zealand, and is nationally important for wildlife. It is one of the three sites that make up the national Arawai Kākāriki wetland restoration programme.

See Ō Tū Wharekai

Otipua Wetland

Otipua Wetland can be seen beside SH1 just south of Tīmaru. It surrounds Saltwater Creek and was once a 60-70 hectare historic entrapped lagoon.

The Otipua Wetland Charitable Trust was formed in 1997 and the  local community have created a significant wetland habitat for birds and lizards.

With the continued development of indigenous forest and swamp vegetation there is potential for indigenous fish and invertebrates to be reintroduced back into the habitat.

Ōtukaikino Wetland

Ōtukaikino is a small wetland of 13 hectares that is located at the end of the northern motorway on the outskirts of Christchurch.

See Ōtukaikino Wetland

Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere wetlands

Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is the most important wetland habitat of its type in New Zealand, providing essential habitats for a large range of bird, plant and invertebrate species.

See Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere wetlands

Travis Wetland

The Travis Wetland Nature Heritage Park is a special place to view wildlife, with over 50 species of birds, indigenous skinks, native shortfin eels/tuna and the Canterbury mudfish/kowaro. It is managed by the Christchurch City Council

See Travis Wetland

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