Near Little River, on the Christchurch - Little River Railtrail
Image: Laura Honey | DOC
On the 20 km section between Motukarara and Little River, the Railtrail runs alongside both Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) and Te Roto o Wairewa (Lake Forsyth). The railway embankment is raised above both lakes and adjoining wetlands which offers magnificent views of the bodies of water, the distant Southern Alps, and also the prolific birdlife. There are 166 species of birds recorded on Te Waihora, including 133 indigenous species. With up to 98,000 birds on the lake at one time, there is always something interesting to see.
The trail passes the Kaituna Quarry Reserve, the Kaituna Lagoon and Kaitorete Spit, the largest landform of its type in New Zealand. There is significant natural, cultural and historical interest along this section of the route. A small brick building near the Kaituna Quarry was used to store explosives, and there are the concrete remains of a WWII radar station near the lake edge.
The original Motukarara station was restored and relocated on to the trail at the Fiddlers Road entrance by the Lincoln Rotary Club, who were also responsible for landscaping the Station area.
The 44 km-long Christchurch to Little River Railtrail runs from Hornby in Christchurch to Little River on Banks Peninsula. This route follows much of the old railway line that was last used in the 1960s and has gentle easy grades. See a description, maps and updates on the Little River Railtrail website.
The 20 km section of the walkway/cycleway that runs between Motukarara and Little River travels on the old preserved railway embankment.
Neills Rd to Motukarara (6km) is an offroad track that mostly runs adjacent to the Halswell Canal.
The section between Lincoln to Neills Rd (9.3km) is still under development but follows Edward Street, Ellesmere Road and River Road.
The section between Prebbleton and Lincoln (7 km) is an offroad track adjacent to the old railway line that runs alongside Birchs Road.
The Hornby (Christchurch) to Prebbleton section (3.5 km) is an offroad track that runs alongside Shands and Marshes Rds before following the railway corridor into Prebbleton.
This is a shared-use track. Follow the mountain bikers code: respect others, respect the rules, respect the track.
There are a number of entry points onto the Railtrail, accessed off the Christchurch to Akaroa highway.
Toilets and parking are available at Prebbleton, Lincoln, Motukarara, Ataahua, Birdlings Flat, Cantons Bay, and Little River.