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Canaan Wainui Loop, Tasman

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Canaan Wainui LoopIntermediate - Experienced

Submitted by Stu Houston

Info Info
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Trail Information





Tasman and Nelson


Back country - remote


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush
Open farmlands

Intermediate - Experienced

7:00 (Slow)
5:00 (Moderate)
3:00 (Fast)



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Fastest Known Times (FKTs)

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From carpark old 4x4 track climbs to Wainui Saddle then turn left (north) and track drops into beech forest to the Wainui river, which it follows to Wainui Hut.

Cross the river then follow it downstream to DOC sign pointing right (east) to start long climb up to Inland Ttrack. Turn right (south) onto Inland Track till junction with Canaan track - turn right (west) and track descends back to Wainui Saddle.

At saddle you can shorten trip by returning to carpark or turn left and follow the Canaan loop MTB track which undulates all the way back to the carpark. You can choose your distance as all MTB tracks loop back to the carpark and they all go off the Canaan loop track.

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Features of interest

Sink holes - all water on Canaan Downs sinks underground and resurgences at Waikoropupu Springs, Takaka. First and last sections pass through the old Canaan Downs Station which is now a DOC reserve although sheep are still grazed here. Mid section is through Abel Tasman National Park past Wainui Hut and the Project Janzoon Bird reintroduction aviary.

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 20%

Moderate Single Track: 29%

Easy Single Track: 15%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 26%

Gravel Road: 10%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Turn off SH60 on to Canaan Road & drive to Harwoods Hole carpark.

    No public transport to carpark but plenty of parks and small DOC camp at start. Carp ark is safe.

    33 km

    55 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Topo maps dont show the Canaan MTB tracks and the grass can get long and obscure the trail, though it is well marked with orange triangles. Take a topo map for in the National Park section and remember from Wainui saddle (or Pages Saddle as old maps refer) you are running a clockwise loop back to Wainui Saddle.

    Very patchy.

    Short-sleeved thermal top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Map.

    You need to carry water for the section from Wainui Hut to Canaan Track as it is a long grunty climb to the Inland Track, then on a ridge for 6 slow kilometres. There is water just past the junction before the descent back down to Wainui saddle. There is no water (streams etc) for the last 7 kilometres as it all disappears underground, so carry water.

    The Wainui River is uncrossable after heavy rain.Track is slippery as all hell if wet with heaps of tree roots on Inland Track section. It snows up here in winter.

    Watch out for mountain bikers on track. It's not a hugely busy MTB park but keep an ear open. Beware the Wainui River during heavy rain. Take heaps of sunscreen mid-summer hot hot hot.

  • Post run indulgence

    Woolshed Cafe
    At start of Canaan road
    awesome spot in a woolshed great views and good food drinks.

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


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