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Bottle Lake Blue Loop, Canterbury

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Bottle Lake Blue LoopBeginner

Submitted by Alistair Bull

Info Info
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Trail Information







Urban fringe


Totally/mostly flat

Plantation/exotic forest


1:25 (Slow)
1:00 (Moderate)
0:45 (Fast)



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Bottle Lake Forest is an 800 hectare pine plantation. It is criss-crossed with tracks for walkers, runners, Mt bikers and horse riders. Many people walk their dogs here.

The forestry roads are named alphabetically - 'Apple' to 'Zulu' East to west with Apple being closest to the visitor centre. Avenues are numbered 10th to 28th from north to south.

The Blue Running loop is really well marked these days and has recently been adjusted a bit to move away bike and horse trails, and adjusted in lieu of current and future forestry operations.Occasionally the mtb and horse tracks can add confusion but a couple of seconds checking for the markers and you'll be back on track.

Enter the park trail from the carpark and pick up the white and blue runners markers. It's best to go anticlockwise. After a short stretch through regenerating pines you'll enter a wonderful flowing trail in established forest. Great underfoot. After a few kms you'll emerge into another logged area and turn north still following the blue running markers across a series of old sand dunes. Great quad and calf work in here! Eventually this re-enters established forest again at the northern end of the loop where you dogleg back onto the return half of the loop. Don't go the wrong way north- that trail takes you to Spencer Park. The last few kms are a mix of flowing forest trail and short sandy sections through regenerating areas. Somewhat suddenly you'll find yourself back at the beginning and the loop is complete. 

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Make Up of Run

Easy Single Track: 80%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 15%

Gravel Road: 5%

Route Data


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  • Access

    Bottle Lake Forest Park entrance off Waitikiri Drive.

    It is clearly signposted from Prestons Rd/Burwood Rd.

    Ample safe parking is available at the park entrance beside the visitor center.

    The park can be reached by bus from the city center on the 'Orange' line and swap to the '135' bus at Burwood hospital. Get off the bus at Waitikiri Drive bus stop and you have a 1km walk up to the park.

    11 km

    19 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Maps are available at the visitor centre. About 1.5km in there is a road crossing where the track was quite overgrown. The entrance to the narrow track is to the right a few meters down the road.

    Generally good.

    Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.

    Water fountain at the beginning of the track, otherwise no water on the loop.

    The 4wd section of track has a tendency to get very wet with large puddles to navigate around or splash through.

    The walk/run track crosses the horse and mtb tracks often. Keep an eye out for both and make sure to give way to horses.

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