Questions & Answers

DO I NEED A MOUNTAIN BIKE? While the ride can be comfortably completed on a hybrid or city bike, the off-road sections will be difficult on a road bike fitted with narrow tyres (less than 1.25in or 3.20cm) as they are more likely to puncture especially on some of the bridge approaches.  We recomment choosing a bike with wider tyres to make your ride on the trail more comfortable.

HOW LONG WILL THE RIDE TAKE? If you choose to ride to Little River just one way at an easy pace, you can expect it to take anywhere between five to seven hours. From Little River, a shuttle can be arranged to take you back to Christchurch - phone 0800 800 575 to arrange. Alternatively, if you like the idea of extending the ride over two days, there are several places to stay en route – camping grounds, B&B accommodation or a hotel (see pages 14, 18, 26 and 38 of our brochure for more information.)

IS THE TRAIL SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN? Given that most of the trail is off road, it is a great ride for children of all ages. In the case of very young children, you might consider only riding one or two sections in a day or starting from a midway point i.e. parking or catching the bus to Birchs Road in Prebbleton and pedalling from there. A fun activity sheet that challenges kids to locate native birds and railroad features along the way is available on our website.


WHAT IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO RIDE? While the trail is open year-round, it really depends on what you want to get out of the ride. Obviously, the summer months will be the warmest time (but be aware that at this time of year many small flying insects are prevalent near the lakes, which can be a bit of a nuisance). Springtime has its own 8 special attractions, including the sight of newly born lambs along the route.


WHAT COSTS ARE INVOLVED? There is no cost to ride the trail, but if you wish to arrange a shuttle to take you one or both ways this can be arranged – see details in question below.  


HOW DO I ARRANGE TO BE TRANSPORTED ONE WAY? The Akaroa French Connection bus service will also transfer bikes when organised in advance. Click HERE to view their website, or phone 0800 800 575 to arrange. The service runs daily between Christchurch and Akaroa, and the cost is $20 per bike above the normal booking cost. Note that bikes will be transported in a storage compartment in the bus itself and not in a separate bike trailer or bike racks. 


HOW FIT DO I NEED TO BE? Anyone who is moderately fit will enjoy this beautiful ride as it is flat and the pace is self-selected. The ride is also appealing to those with a high level of fitness whether they choose to make it a one way or return ride.


ARE THERE TOILETS LOCATED ALONG THE TRAIL? All the public toilets along the way are marked on the map in our brochure. Restaurants and some other businesses located en route will also have toilet facilities.


WHAT ABOUT HORSES AND DOGS? As much of the trail passes through farmland and important wildlife areas, horses are strictly forbidden on any section of the trail. Dogs are not permitted on the Motukarara to Little River section. On other parts of the trail, dogs are permitted but must remain on a lead as the trail passes through agricultural land next to livestock and areas where wild birds congregate and breed.


CAN I SWIM IN THE LAKES? Swimming in any of the lakes or rivers on or near the trail is not permitted due to several preserved natural habitats and potentially dangerous bodies of waters according to the Department of Conservation (DOC). Te Waihora/ Lake Ellesmere experiences toxic algae blooms which are hazardous to human and animal health (especially dogs).


CAN I CAMP ALONG THE TRAIL? Freedom camping is not permitted anywhere on or adjacent to the trail or in nearby carparks. There are camp grounds along the way shown on pages 28, 32, and 40 of our brochure.