Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done

Kowai River Splash

Springfield, Canterbury

Submitted by Arjan Hulsman

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Intermediate - Experienced

Save Trail Save

I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 17 ?

Gnarl Factor: 92 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Totally/mostly flat

Dog Friendly


Run Makeup


Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +2.1%

Average Downhill Gradient: -2.1%


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Estimated Times to Run

Not suitable






There are no track markers, but navigating this route will be fairly easy. You only can go one way. Just follow the Kowai river. From your start point you follow the river down stream over the many river banks and through many river crossings. There are heaps of little old stream beds you can follow to avoid a few river crossings. On some places you can choose to bush bash a bit to avoid the stream. The track ends at the Waimakariri River where you will have spectacular views over the Waimak and the Southern Alps. Back track your steps in return to your car or pick a different line up, in and around the Kowai river. Have fun!

Park down at the river. With wet weather it might be good to park just past the bridge if you have a 2wd car.

4 km

4 minutes




Perfect throughout.

Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

Plenty water around, not sure about the quality, the rocks look a bit greasy. BYO.

Be careful after big rain. The river looks like it might flood once and while. In winter the water crossing can be pretty cold, so dress for cold water.

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Trail Legend

Sal Aitken

Sal Aitken

has completed Kowai River Splash once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Really fun mini adventure for a hot day - did it in a nor'wester and had a blast! Gaiters recommended to keep the sand and shingle out, and I also found poles useful for stability on the crossings and shingle banks. Though there are countless crossings, none are difficult, and this would be good practice and a confidence builder for bigger riverbed routes such as Goat Pass.

Emily Oliver

January 21, 2023

Good trail, but its a once off for me, lots of river crossings and uneven running, rocks and shingle.

ewald kruger

January 5, 2021

What a great "trail", an easy adventure that I managed to squeeze in between two meetings. Nothing too challenging river wise, lost count of the number of crossings (30+ I guess). This was actually Plan B as the Benmore trail up the road a bit was closed due to Covid-19 but it was perfect.

Corey Woodward

May 8, 2020

This is a good trail if you want to do some river bed and river crossing training.

Ben Taylor

February 23, 2020

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