"Cycle on the Little River Rail Trail" Top 5 Page for this destination Akaroa Off The Beaten Path Tip by Kakapo2
Akaroa Off The Beaten Path: 36 reviews and 87 photos
Like the famous Otago Central Rail Trail the Little River Railtrail has been established on a former railway line which was last used in the 1960's. The first stage has been opened in May 2006. It is 20 kms long. When finally finished the trail will start in Christchurch and add another 24 kms. On 30 November 2006 stage two added 7 kms from Prebbleton to Lincoln which is still far away from the stretch of stage one.
Stage one leads from Motukarara to the picnic area at Catons Bay at Lake Forsyth / Te Wairewa, only a short distance from Little River township.
From Christchurch you get to Motukarara by taking the road to Akaroa, and follow the sign to the Motukarara racetrack. There you will find the sign to the start of the rail trail.
Most of this section leads along Lake Ellesmere and Lake Forsyth which have abundant birdlife. And "along" really means that you could fall into the water if you try to avoid some of the brainless cyclists who do not check if somebody is overtaking them before riding criss-cross on the track. This is the biggest danger on the track. As it is so easy and leads over absolutely flat land there are many unexperienced cyclists and small children on the track.
The lake and the adjoining wetlands offer splendid views. But you should not fall into the lake because its waters are dead from excessive dairy farming.
There are also historic brick buildings along the track. Seven new bridges have been built to replace the original bridges that were removed. The historic bridge piles and abutments have been preserved.
You should check the weather before cycling on the track as the winds and rain can be rather rough there. When we cycled it had rained before, so the newly established gravel track was very muddy. But this should settle and become less of a problem. And always watch out for the criss-crossers!
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