McLeans Island Walking Trail

Waimakariri River Regional Park

  • 2 hr 30 min loop track
  • Easy

Flat meandering walk through pine forest near the Waimakariri River.

Mycena mariae • By matthew. Licence: C.
McLeans Island Walking Trail: Key information
Walking time
2 hr 30 min
Loop track
Loop track
No bookings — open access
No — open access
McLeans Island Walking Trail: Find it
Car park, McLeans Island Road, Christchurch
50m – 70m
Altitude change 20m

The plantation pine forest of McLeans Island is a popular destination for mountain bikers, but there is also an 11km walking loop, independent of the biking trail. It is not especially scenic, but it is good exercise and well marked. The vegetation is largely exotic pine and poplar, but there are a few kanuka trees amongst the forest, ample Muehlenbeckia axillaris underfoot, and a variety of toadstools in Autumn.

McLeans Island is no longer actually an Island. The south channel of the Waimakariri River was closed off after the Great Depression, and the island is now part of the south bank. The extensive stopbanks and groynes were constructed during the 1930s to protect the city of Christchurch.

From the car park (toilets, shop, information, bike hire), walking and biking trails lead along the back of the McLeans Island Golf Course toward the river. There are several crossings with the bike track along here -- watch for speeding cyclists.

Climbing up onto a stopbank, the trail turns left, while the Templars Island Trail branches off to the right, downriver. The trail crosses into forest at Tresillian Road and wanders through light forest with clearings and stands of poplar. The trail loops to the right, climbing onto a low stopbank.

A branch turns off left and leads down to the riverbed, passing a paddock and entering riverside willows. The river is broad and stony with long views inland and out toward the coast. 

Back at the junction, the trail continues on the stopbank , eventually leaving it to pass a pond and shortcut to the car park. The track continues onward, passing another pond and turning right onto Ashfield Road at the edge of another paddock. Up onto a high stopbank, the track passes the back of the Coringa and McLeans Island Golf Courses and returns to the car park. 

Walking times

  • Car park west to river trail: 1 hour 15 min
  • River trail: 25 min (2km)
  • River trail east to car park: 55 min


ID 8575

About this track

Added 26 April 2013 by matthewmatthew. No revisions.
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