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Level: Easiest
Length: 30 mi (48.3 km)
Surface: Doubletrack
Configuration: One-way
Elevation: +247/ -222 ft
Total: 3 riders

Mountain Biking Little River Rail Trail

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#271 of 387 mountain bike trails in New Zealand
#15,963 in the world

The 49km long Little River Rail Trail follows an old railway line starting in the Christchurch suburb of Hornby. It heads south east towards Akaroa passing suburbs, farmland, the university town of Lincoln, Lake Ellesmere and Lake Forsyth to end in the quaint village of Little River on Banks Peninsula.

From Hornby to Motukarara the trail is mainly on sealed road or concrete path. The 23km from Motukarara to Little River is all off-road on gravel. It is wide, packed and smooth. The whole trail is flat and tends to go in long straight lines with gentle curves. It is suitable for children and absolute beginners and is popular with families.

The section from Motukarara to Little River goes alongside Lake Ellesmere and then Lake Forsyth. It is quite scenic and there are lots of birds - mainly ducks and shags.

You can ride the trail in either direction. Check the weather before setting out and see which way gives you a tail wind. The trail is very exposed along the shores of Lake Ellesmere.

Toilets and parking are available at Prebbleton, Lincoln, Motukarara, Ataahua, Birdlings Flat, Cantons Bay, and Little River. You'll need to bring drinking water with you.

First added by Jim Cummings on Jun 5, 2015. Last updated Apr 24, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: yes
  • Fat bike grooming: yes
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
You can pick up the trail in Hornby on Shands Road, or on one of the sign-posted entry points off the Christchurch to Akaroa highway.
You can also start at the other end of the trail, at the village of Little River.
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Little River Rail Trail Trail map

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Local Info

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Trail checkins

nzmtbmike (on Apr 8, 2018)
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Trail conditions

(on Jun 5, 2015)
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Rider questions

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  • Jim Cummings

    I find these long, straight, flat, rail-trail rides a bit tedious although they usually have tunnels, bridges, viaducts, gorges, mountains, stunning panoramas, history, cafes, pubs or other interesting distractions. The Little River Trail is lightweight on all counts. Nevertheless, Christchurch people like it and lots of them are out there enjoying it on fine weekends.

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