"kiwi's Rakaia Gorge experience" Rakaia Gorge by kiwi

Rakaia Gorge Travel Guide: 9 reviews and 15 photos

The Rakaia Gorge and it's bridges.

If you take Highway 73 westwards out of Christchurch, then Highway 77 towards Mount Hutt, you eventually arrive at the Rakaia Gorge. There are two bridges close together which transport you across the mighty Rakaia River.
The bridge was completed in 1882 and is an engineering heritage site.
As was the case with a lot of aspects of life for the pioneers of New Zealand, ideas and plans from overseas were even back then, adapted to meet the condition of the land. The then engineer adapted his plans with concepts developed by Americans Whipple, Fink and Bollman, for those interested in architecture.
Looking at this bridge, it could leave you feeling a little unsure of it's stability, however remember it's been here for over 100 years so has already proved it's worth. This area is subject to some very harsh weather, last time I was here everything was covered in snow and there was no mountain to be seen at all, being covered in thick cloud.
The river waters flow out of Lake Coleridge further inland.


The routes 72,73 and 77 are more interesting alternatives to head into the mountains from Chch, than is Highway 1 over the flat plains of the lowlands.


Here's one of the locals. They must be tough down here to survive the varied weather conditions, can be extremely cold in winter and very hot in summer. Not to mention the North West wind that frequents! This guy most likely has his roots in Scotland, I would think.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:Wild, Inland, and exciting.
  • Last visit to Rakaia Gorge: May 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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