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The Rakaia Gorge, Canterbury

Rakaia Gorge, Canterbury - New Zealand

The Rakaia Gorge, Canterbury

The Rakaia Gorge is located on the Rakaia River in inland Canterbury on State Highway 72, at the foothills of the mountain ranges, a short distance from Methven and Mt Hutt Skifield. A striking feature of the river is its vibrant bluish-turquoise colour. The colour comes from the reflection of floating glacial sediment that travels down the Rakaia river (at about 160 cubic metres per second) from the alpine mountains to the west.

Two days, Two different views.

Have you ever noticed when travelling, you notice things differently? Watch the video below, and you will see what I’m talking about. During the video, I placed two white circles at specific points. The first circle is the view from the gorge – standing on the bridge, looking up to Mt Hutt. I had no idea I would be standing the next day on that spot, looking back at the bridge I was standing on.

The second circle in the video shows the view down from Mt Hutt skifield to the Rakaia River and gorge – Interesting? Probably not, but it was pretty cool when it happened.

The Rakaia Gorge Walkway

At the gorge is the Rakaia Gorge walkway, a 10.4-kilometre return walking track. The walkway passes through a range of forest and shrub communities to a historic ferryman’s track along steep paths and staircases. If you follow it, you will get to a good lookout point. The walk is about 45 minutes. I haven’t done this walk yet; I will let you know when I do.

Getting There

Getting to the gorge is an easy drive on State Highway 72 Inland Scenic Route on the northern edge of the Rakaia River – a beautiful drive through the Canterbury plains. From Christchurch, it is 75km; a further 10 minutes to Methven heading south. Methven is the closest town to Mt Hutt Ski Field.

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