Mountain biking, fishing, whitebaiting near the Kaiapoi River mouth, shooting, walking, picnics, kayaking, motocross and jet boating - Kaiapoi Island has it all for the outdoors-minded.
There are separate areas for motocross, flat track and trials riding with dedicated spaces for learners and families.
Please check notices and events for the latest information.
Read below for more information about key access to the night gates for fishing.
About 15km from Christchurch, the Kaiapoi Island section of the Waimakariri River Regional Park is a place for walking, running and cycling. It also provides access for anglers hoping to catch fresh water sport fish such as salmon and trout. Suitable for whitebating.
The entrance to Kaiapoi Island is next to the Challenge service station at the corner of Wrights Road and Main North Road. You can also access the park from Taylors Road in Clarkville.
Gates open 4.30am to 7pm in winter and 4.30am to 10pm during daylight saving. Pedestrian access is available 24 hours.
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.
Picnic tables - about 10 tables available.
- With easy access to the river, operated by Jet Boating NZ
Shared use tracks for mountain biking and walking - There are 18km of two-way, shared use tracks. The Raven Quay Loop is 18.5km and the Wrights Road Loop is 8.5km
Kaiapoi Island Motocross Park - Motocross track, flat tracks, learners area and family area.
Fishing – Anglers must have a current fishing license from Fish and Game New Zealand. In the river, you will find sea run salmon and trout. Monopoli’s Pond is good for coarse fishing. Whitebaiting can be done along Anglers Causeway and downstream to the confluence of the Kaiapoi River. Fishers wanting night access can contact us for a key.
Swimming - There are swimming spots on the shingle fan opposite Reid’s Reserve. Swimming is prohibited at the jet boat ramp. See here for up-to-date swimming water quality reports. Please swim safely.
Jet boating - Speed uplift applies west of SH1. See recreational boating for more.
Kayaking - popular get out spot, between the bridges.See recreational boating for more.
*Please note the activities are separated so there is always plenty of space for a quiet picnic away from more noisy activities.
Prior to European settlement, the Waimakariri River was split in two main channels in the lower reaches forming a number of islands about 8kms inland from the coast. Kaiapoi Island was the largest of these and covered around 2800 hectares.
Māori called the island Te Rakai a Hewa ‘the adornment of the deluded one’. The island was important spiritually and as an education site.
Te Tupapaku, now known as Courtenay Stream, ran through the island. Here, local Maori laid their dead with the ona upoko (head) staked to the bank and the tupapaku (body of the deceased) in the water. Eels would strip flesh from the body and the bones were later buried in sand dunes or caves.
In the early 1850s, European settlers were moving into North Canterbury. In 1854, a pastoral lease of 5000 acres of the island was taken by William Smith. The lease was transferred to George Day and then became known as Day’s Run. As settlement on the north east corner of the island grew, the town and island became known as Kaiapoi, named after the pā located nearby, at present day Woodend.