Beginning in the Christchurch suburb of Hornby, the Little River Trail rolls across the rural Canterbury Plains and past extinct volcanoes weathered over millions of years. The second half of the ride is a bird-lover’s delight as it flanks the shores of Lake Ellesmere, home to New Zealand’s most diverse bird population, and its smaller neighbour Lake Forsyth. The trail ends in the quaint township of Little River at the base of the Banks Peninsula.
The Little River Trail offers flat, easy riding, with convenient access points making it easy to break the ride into short return trips.
The official start-point is at the Shand Road car park in the Christchurch suburb of Hornby. A sealed track leads to the old railway corridor the trail follows for much of the way, first leading to pretty Prebbleton village and onward through pleasant rural surroundings to the next town, Lincoln.
A mix of rural roads and cross-country track leads to Ahuriri Reserve, before the trail passes through a significant, regenerating wetland inhabited by abundant birdlife on the way to Motukaraka.
From there, the trail follows the shore of Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora where an elevated embankment affords great views of Kaitorete Spit, the largest landform of its type in New Zealand. Having reached Birdlings Flat, the track skirts Lake Forsyth/Te Roto o Wairewa to Little River.