"A Lonesome Road Trip: Rakaia Gorge to Lake Lyndon" Top 5 Page for this destination Canterbury Off The Beaten Path Tip by Kakapo2
Canterbury Off The Beaten Path: 10 reviews and 40 photos
This spectacular fine-weather road trip on a dusty gravel road leads through lonesome and dry landscape which has a lot of similarities with the MacKenzie Country further south. There are signs of life, though, some black bulls in the distance, sometimes another car, but most of the 40 to 50 km trip you are alone and can enjoy the sounds of silence. There are some incredibly remote sheep farms in the area.
The trip can be made both ways, either from Rakaia Gorge (scenic highway 77), coming from Christchurch turn sharp right before the bridge, or - also coming from Christchurch - by a turn to the left at Lake Lyndon, 2kms after Porters Pass (highway 73), a gravel road that also leads to several skifields. Mostly the trip is made from Rakaia Gorge to Lake Lyndon.
Half way are the Lakes Coleridge and Ida which are frozen in winter. Lake Ida is Canterbury's most popular ice-skating lake in winter - and, of course, then the road is less lonesome but still remote enough to enjoy the scenery.
Lake Coleridge is the water-filled trough of a departed glacier, and people come to fish there, especially at the Harper River end of the lake. Many people are interested in having a look at the Lake Coleridge Powerstation.
Water which would otherwise flow into the Harper River is led from the lake by two tunnels, passed through nine generators and discharged into the Rakaia River. The intake of the lake is 5km away and can also be visited.
As impressive as this technical masterpiece is, the view over the braided river bed of the Rakaia with the massive mountain range of Mt. Hutt, Canterbury's first skifield, is a lot more spectacular. A perfect uninterrupted panorama.
Way to the Rakaia Gorge: either north of Christchurch via Rangiora on HW77 south, or via HW73 or HW1 to Darfield, then to the left to HW77. From Lake Lyndon back to Chch on HW73.
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