Rakaia Gorge Walkway

Image: Ben | Creative Commons


This walkway offers several geological and historic features as it traverses the edge of the Rakaia Gorge.

Track overview

10.4 km return via same track

Walking and tramping

3-4 hr Easy: Walking track

Dog access

No dogs

About this track


The walkway passes through several forest and shrub communities before climbing the gorse-lined historic ferryman's track. Continue along one of several glacial and river-carved terraces to a good lookout point (about 45 minutes)

The walkway follows the rim of the gorge through spectacular geological areas, showing lava flows of rhyolite, pitchstone and andesite. It then descends into a gully under a canopy of montane forest and shrub, to the site of the Snowdon coal mines. The entrances to several coal mine tunnels can be seen here, and the remains of equipment used for extraction.

The track then climbs out of the creek to a sign-posted junction. The walkway forms a loop from this point, with the right-hand track climbing across tussock-covered terraces directly to the lookout point. The track then passes through the bush to loop back to the junction. A side track off the loop descends to the river (boat landing track 121m).

Note: this walkway goes over private farmland; show  your respect to landowners by keeping to the track, and not disturbing stock. Dogs or horses not permitted.

Getting there

The track starts off State Highway 72 Inland Scenic Route on the northern edge of the Rakaia River, upstream of the Rakaia Gorge Bridge, mid-Canterbury. It is 75 km from Christchurch 75kms and 11 km from Methven - 10 mins drive.

Know before you go

Wasp populations reach high numbers from January to March – wear light coloured clothing and carry antihistamine cream/tablets as a precaution.


Rangiora Office
Phone:   +64 3 313 0820
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   esienquiries@doc.govt.nz
Address:   32 River Road
Rangiora 7400
Postal Address:   PO Box 349
Rangiora 7440
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