Little River Rail Trail

The Christchurch to Little River Rail Trail is a cycleway and walkway from Hornby to Little River. The route follows much of the Little River Branch railway line which operated from 1875 until 1967 providing a vital means for farmers to get stock and produce to market. The trail passes through rural areas and settlements on the Canterbury Plains, skirts past the massive flanks of the ancient volcanoes which make up Banks Peninsula, and hugs the shoreline of a vast lagoon, Te Waihora or Lake Ellesmere (the largest lagoon in mainland New Zealand), and its smaller neighbour, Te Roto o Wairewa or Lake Forsyth. The lakes and associated rivers and wetlands are rich in wildlife and natural vegetation.


The LIttle River Rail Trail is made up of eight sections, with the full trail length being 55km from the Christchurch city centre.  Find out about them on the Trail Sections page.  And see some of the things you can do and will encounter on the Trail in the Exploring On The Trail page.  Find out more about the Trail on the About The Trail.  Have any questions?  You'll find the answers on the Q & A page.  And check out the Gallery with loads of photos.


Had a great time - Thanks for the lovely trail. Just right as a starter for me and a couple of teens as we plan our first multi day trail for school holidays.



We had a great time on the Little River Rail Trail. We cycled from Rolleston to Little River, stayed overnight at SiloStay, then cycled back to Rolleston the following day. 

Amanda Stuart

The scenery on the trail is beautiful, particularly cycling alongside Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere. It’s definitely something we plan to do again. 



As the golden rays bounce off the water, the sun sets behind snow capped mountains. This amazing spot is ten minutes drive from us.