Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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Lake Lilian Track

Methven, Canterbury

Submitted by Arjan Hulsman

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 27 ?

Gnarl Factor: 9 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote

Out and Back

Totally/mostly flat


Open farmlands

Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +3.8%

Average Downhill Gradient: -3.9%


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Estimated Times to Run







The track will take you over mainly 4x4 tracks along a station fence to where the Harper River spits with the Avoca River. After around 9 km you have to jump a fence and follow the orange pole markers through a paddock, which continues in a really nice single track. Follow this track for another kilometre and you will end up at the shore of Lake Lilian.
On your way back it's really nice to follow the 4x4 track through the riverbed instead following the fence line.
The track it self is not really spectacular, pretty flat and not really technical, but the scenery around you is stunning, the blue rivers and the mountains are amazing. The multiple river crossings make this track a lot more fun.

At the start of the route you can see a water-powered power station.
You'll be running on part of the Te Araroa Trail.

No public transport.
Really easy to reach with any kind of car

68 km

120 minutes




Follow the orange pole markers, if you don't see them follow the 4x4 track which is really easy to follow.


Short-sleeved thermal top, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

I wouldn't be too worried to drink water from the rivers. But if you're concerned it'll be necessary to bring your own.

Should be all right all year around. Maybe lots of snow in the winter.

Trail Legend


Sharon Davis

has completed Lake Lilian Track once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Interesting area, first section along the 4WD track is easy going but when you turn off to go up the valley the grass can be long and deceptive ankle trap. We ended up running on the private road at times. The track up to the lake is washed out a bit as Sharon noted. One amazing thing about the lake is that there is native kākahi (freshwater mussel) present in the lake, which was a valuable mahinga kai resource for many Māori so keep an eye out for shells at the waters edge.

Stewie Stuart

December 11

Walked this route. Stunning scenery but also a little boring as trails go. A section of the trail up Lilian Creek has washed away - you can walk in the river for maybe 20m or climb a bit higher to get around this. Lovely lake. Parts of the track were frosty and icy (early June).

Sharon Davis

June 11, 2023

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