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Little River Chuggalong, Canterbury

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Little River ChuggalongBeginner

Submitted by Tony Sharpe

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Trail Information






Little River

Front country - easily accessible

Point to Point (one way)

Totally/mostly flat

Open farmlands


3:00 (Slow)
2:15 (Moderate)
1:30 (Fast)



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Even cycle trails are worth a run sometimes, and this is one of the better ones.

Start at the Motukarara Station and head out south along the trail across a few bridges and round a few bends. Before long you'll reach Kaituna huts, which is worth a stop to look around the headland and get your first views of Lake Ellesmere/ Waihora.

The next stage is awesome as it ventures out onto the lake along causeways and over bridges which gives great views of the prolific birdlife and surrounding landscapes. Great photography here, and also superb night skies if you happen to be here in the dark - great aurora spotting country

Once you get clear of the lake you'll cross a couple of roads and carry on until you reach the road turnoff to Birdlings Flat, which itself is worth a visit on your shuttle back home for a wild Pacific Ocean coastline. Breathtaking, but don't swim here, its way too dangerous in that surf!

After the Birdlings turnoff the Rail Trail heads inland through Birdlings Flat Station and eventually joins the shoreline of Lake Forsyth / Wairewa. It's a pleasant amble alongside the water for the next few km's until the Trail runs out and then its only a short road dash to the refreshments and artistic pleasures of Little River. Stop and explore the Gallery before you head home.

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Features of interest

Historic Rail Trail

Make Up of Run

Easy Single Track: 99%

Sealed Road: 1%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Motukarara Historic Station

    You'll need to organise a shuttle or car swap, unless you want to run both ways

    26 km

    21 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    You can't miss this trail


    Long-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.

    Bring from home, its farmland here and sadly the water quality is rubbish

    Can get a but nippy in winter

    The whole trail is very exposed to wind. Weather can change rapidly so pack appropriate warm and weatherproof back up gear

  • Post run indulgence

    Little River Cafe
    Main Road Little River
    Art, fine coffee and food and some cold ones

  • Sponsor this trail

    If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities, please get in touch below:


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