Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done

Canaan Wainui Loop

Motueka, Tasman

Submitted by Stu Houston

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 47 ?

Gnarl Factor: 33 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush

Open farmlands

Run Makeup


Gravel Road

Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +6.9%

Average Downhill Gradient: -5.7%


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Estimated Times to Run







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.

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.

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

33 km

55 minutes




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.

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

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Trail Reviews

The magnificent inland track terrain might just be considered runnable for those nimble enough. Kudos to Doc for maintaining it despite multiple windfalls events in recent years- you will surely have it to yourself! The rest is a bit of a dogs breakfast, so personally I'd recommend completing the outer Canaan cycle loop and not worrying too much about the precise gpx trail shown here.

Mike McManaway

April 7, 2022

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