Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Kaiapoi Island Trail

Kaiapoi, Canterbury

Submitted by Kelly Chapman

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 13

Gnarl Factor: 11








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Urban fringe

Out and Back

Totally/mostly flat

Dog Friendly

Plantation/exotic forest


Open farmlands

Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +1.7%

Average Downhill Gradient: -1.7%


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Estimated Times to Run







From the NCF Park car park go around the gate and follow the gravel track about 100m to the Kaiapoi River stopbank. Once you're on the stopbank turn right and run on the stopbank. You'll have the Kaiapoi River on your left and farmland on your right.

After about 2.5km, just before the pine trees, on your left you’ll see the sign “Kaiapoi Island Trail”. A shared-use single track falls away to the left down and off the stopbank. Follow the single track down to the Waimakariri River Park.

In the first kilometre or so the well-maintained single-track splits in two, stay right. The track soon veers right and crosses the gravel road and weaves its way through vegetation, eventually arriving alongside the Waimakariri River.

Follow the single track until you pass under both bridges (Old Waimak Bridge and the Motorway Bridge). After you've passed the bridges, the track goes left and right, stay left and follow the track towards the river.

Stay on this track and enjoy fantastic views of the Waimakariri River for about another 3km.

Eventually, the track does a right turn taking you into a forest area for about 3km, heading back the way you came, eventually popping you out back by the bridges.

From there follow the track back the way you came.

This trail runs alongside and provides great views of the Waimakariri River.

There's heaps of parking.

2 km

4 minutes




Perfect throughout.

Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.

There is a drinking water and toilets avaiable at the picnic area between the two bridges.

No seasonality issues.

Extra care required if the Waikiriri River is running high.

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Trail Reviews

Awesome trail. Great instructions thank you. The forest part of the loop was not under water as others have noted but it was overgrown and there were lots of trees down. I ended up cutting out up onto the stop bank rather than more bush bashing.

Anne-Louise Robertson

November 4

A lovely little run with nice shady bits and fun little single tracks to accelerate through just for fun.I was interested to see how boggy the forest trail part after the bridges was, about 3 weeks ago heavy rain in the headwaters of the Waimak River came down like a huge muddy torrent, and the river was so high it covered the carpark at the boat ramp by the motor way. Needless to say, running through the forest loop was pretty much as the comments above, thick slippery ponds of water , hard to traverse so I went up onto the stop bank in the end. The 3km of forest trail is turning back into marshland, and it might be easier to edit the run to travel from the river loop section to Taylor's road and up onto the stop bank back to the bridges. Just a thought otherwise, this area is an absolute gem for flat interesting river trails!

Lynette ELFICK

November 15, 2022

Nice to unlock a new trail here. Be warned - when I ran this (mid August 2022) the forest part of the loop with inundated with water (thigh high in places), and after a good amount of wading I needed to divert up to the stop bank. Even the other part of the route below the stop bank was pretty boggy. Hopefully the WDC can sort out the drainage because it looks like a bit of work went into forming the trail, all for it to be buried by water. Looking forward to running again when the water subsides - nice flowy route otherwise and looks to be tonnes of other connections nearby worthy of exploring.

Brion Matthews

September 1, 2022

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