Ashley Rakahuri Regional Park

If you're in the Rangiora region or looking for a day out in North Canterbury, the Ashley Rakahuri Regional Park is the place to go for fishing, walking, swimming, cycling and family picnics.

Please check notices and events for the latest information.

About
The Ashley Rakahuri Regional Park encompasses the Ashley River/Rakahuri and berm area from the Okuku River confluence downstream to the Ashley Estuary.
There are multiple access points to the park, but the most popular are at the Rangiora/Ashley traffic bridge and State Highway 1 bridge.
The land within the Ashley Rakahuri Regional Park was vested in Environment Canterbury to protect or create funds for river protection works, so surrounding land can be protected from flooding
The park includes pine forest blocks, mixed stands of exotic trees including willows and poplar, and pockets of native vegetation that are gradually being restored and enhanced.
A variety of recreational opportunities are available at the park including fishing, swimming, gamebird hunting, walking, cycling and picnicking.

Dogs must be kept under effective control at all times. No barbecues are provided but visitors are welcome to bring their own, provided they are gas only and used in areas clear of vegetation.  Light no fires. Dial 111 immediately if you see smoke or flames.

Facilities

Car parking and entrances:

  • River Road, slightly west of the intersection with West Belt. Access roads lead to Groyne 1 and an intermediate point on the Rakahuri Trail. Parking is available at this entrance, and at the ends of these access roads.
  • Ashley picnic entrance: Off Milton Avenue which is on the east side shortly before the bridge over the Ashley Rakahuri River.
  • Break Bank: this entrance is on Cones Road. It leads to two parking areas.
  • Rail bridge: at the north end of East Belt.
  • Rakahuri picnic area: entrance via the Ashley township. 
Activities
Shared use mountain biking/walking
  • Rakahuri Trail - an easy shared, walking and mountain bike track running from Groyne 1, behind the racecourse, downstream to East Belt. Shorter mountain bike tracks can be found in the pine forest downstream from East Belt.
  • Mike Kean Walkway - A 0.9km easy track from the Ashley Picnic Ground, east of the State Highway 1 road bridge, to the car park at the rail bridge.

Mountain biking - Shorter mountain-bike tracks are accessed from the Rakahuri Trail downstream of the rail bridge car park. They offer single-track mountain biking.

BMX riding - The North Canterbury BMX Club tracks can be accessed off Milton Ave.

Picnics - A range of sites at Ashley, Rail Bridge, Groyne 1, Waikuku Beach and more.

History
The Ashley River/Rakahuri starts with headwaters in the Puketeraki Range, northwest of Rangiora.
The river is relatively steep compared with other braided rivers in New Zealand and moves a substantial amount of sediment. It also has a long history of flooding.
The Ashley River/Rakahuri last breached its stopbanks in 1953 next to the Rangiora Traffic bridge. Water flowed through Rangiora and out towards Kaiapoi, Woodend and Waikuku causing large amounts of damage.
River engineering and protection works have since managed to prevent any further break outs, with the work supported and protected by the Ashley Rakahuri Regional Park.

 Important hunting rules 

Hunting and shooting
Criteria for hunting and shooting at the Ashley Rakahuri Regional Park:
  • Only gamebird hunting is permitted at the Ashley Rakahuri Regional Park, including the riverbed. 
  • Target shooting with all types of firearm is prohibited.
  • The hunting of small game such as rabbits and possums by the general public is prohibited.
  • Gamebird hunting must only happen in the designated areas.
  • Only shotguns may be used.
  • A valid Fish & Game licence must be held.
  • Fish & Game regulations and the Gamebird Hunting Code of Practice must be adhered to.
Gamebird Hunting Areas
Conditions that apply to gamebird hunting at the Ashley Rakahuri Regional Park:
  • Open hunting - gamebird hunting is permitted, provided hunters follow the above criteria including adhering to Fish and Game regulations.
  • Restricted hunting - gamebird hunting is permitted between dawn and 9am, provided hunters follow the above criteria including adhering to Fish and Game regulations.
  • Prohibited hunting - Gamebird hunting is prohibited in these areas at all times.