Rakaia Gorge Walkway

  • Walking

This walking track traverses the northern edge of the Rakaia River, taking in several features of geological and historical interest.

The track initially passes through forest and shrub before climbing a historic ferryman's track. Walkers can then continue along one of several glacial and river-carved terraces to a good lookout point.

The track follows the rim of the gorge, showing lava flows of rhyolite, pitchstone and andesite. It then descends into a gully under a canopy of montane forest and shrub before passing the site of the Snowdon coal mines, where the entrances to several coal mine tunnels can be seen, as well as the remains of equipment used for extraction.

The north end of the track forms a loop, with the right-hand track climbing across tussock-covered terraces to another lookout point, returning through the bush.


Some sections of this track cross private land and visitors are asked to stick to the marked route, respect all signposted conditions of access. 

How to get here

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

Track Elevation

Map of Track

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Page last updated: Sep 8, 2020, 3:43 PM