The Rakaia Gorge Walkway offers several features of geological and historic interest as it traverses the edge of the Rakaia River. The Rakaia River is one of the largest braided rivers in New Zealand, it rises in the Southern Alps, travelling 150 kilometres before entering the Pacific Ocean 50 kilometres south of Christchurch. For much of its journey, the river is a braided river, running through a wide shingle bed. However, it is briefly confined to a narrow canyon, known as the Rakaia Gorge.
||10.4 km return, 3-4 hours return|
||A toilet and parking area is available at the beginning of the walkway, near the jet boat operator base.
|About the walk:||
The walkway is on the northern bank of the Rakaia River and begins at the car parking area beside the Rakaia Gorge bridge, where the jet boat operators base themselves
The walkway passes through several forest and shrub communities before climbing the gorse-lined ferryman's track to the site of a cottage and the ruins of a home-guard fortification point (redoubt). Continue along one of several glacial and river-carved terraces to a good lookout point.
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).
It is possible to walk the track one way by taking a ride up the river with the jet boat operator based at the Rakaia Gorge and then walking back.
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.
Collect a DOC Around and about Mid-Canterbury brochure from the Methven i-SITE Visitor Centre