Last Updated: 11th Apr 2024


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Onawe Plug

Little River, Canterbury

Submitted by Stephanie Berry

Last Updated: 11th Apr 2024


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 7 ?

Gnarl Factor: 11 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Undulating, small hills only

Native bush


Open tussock/grasslands


Run Makeup


Gravel Road

Easy Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +5.9%

Average Downhill Gradient: -7.7%


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Estimated Times to Run







Head towards the peninsula along Onawe Flat Road enjoying the magnificent views of the harbour and the amazing remnants of lava flows. After about 1.5kms you will veer slightly left off the road and through the parking area where you will see the sign for Onawe. If you are not a brave soul then follow the track down onto the beach and run along the beach to the track proper. If you are either brave or stupid then head up the narrow track and along the very narrow ridge and scramble down the other side. Please don't take children this way.

Once you're off the beach follow the mown track up the hill. At about the 2.7km mark there is a track that ducks off into the bush on your left. Follow this around and you will come out at the top where the Pa once stood. If you climb up onto the large rock there are awesome views of the harbour. Once you've admired the views then follow the single track around the knob and back down to join up with the main track and head back the way you came. There are a couple of old along the cliff face that have been closed since the earthquakes due to the risk of rockfall. Please respect this. You are on sacred land. This is a fun easy run that can be enjoyed by the whole family or a quick blat on your way too or from Akaroa or the surrounding bays.

Onawe Peninsula is the plug for Akaroa Volcano now jutting out into Akaroa Harbour on Banks Peninsula. It is a sacred/tapu Maori Site being the site of a Ngai Tahu Pa which was captured in 1832 by Te Rauparaha, chief of Ngati Toa. It's history is fascinating. The Craft Station in the old railway station in Little River and the Duvauchelle Store have a booklet entitled "Walk with me to Onawe". It is well worth grapping a copy as it has details of the Pa and where they sourced water etc. You can find out more about the gruesome battle that took place here and claimed so many lives online. Please do not eat whilst out on the peninsula. You will find many fascinating volcanic rocks and features as well as amazing views of the harbour.

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

There is parking across the road from the hotel on the grass where there is a nice picnic table that you can enjoy after your run. Alternatively you can park in the Hotel car park and enjoy a cold one after your run.

18 km

22 minutes





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


This is a low tide adventure. The peninsula is not accessible at high tide unless you have a snorkle.

Duvauchelle Hotel

Trail Legend

Garry Walker

Garry Walker

has completed Onawe Plug once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Great out and back. Amazing views and interesting history too. Loved being able to go for a quick dip afterwards.

Stefanie Parks

November 12, 2021

Great short loop of deep local significance. Every time I go to Akaroa, I’ve wanted to go on the Onawe peninsula... finally made it!

Matt Halverson

February 4, 2021

Sweet run - best to stay on track as directed by signs. Rocks can be slippy in high tide. Recommended and can be combined with a longer run on tracks around the headland.

Karen Spencer

January 13, 2021

Fabulous wee trail, history and a hill in one go. The loop part around the Pa may be closed as we came out behind a track closed sign and gates. Oops. Great views and geology aplenty for the rock hounds.

Isobel Stout

January 12, 2020

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