The Opawaho Divide leg of the Christchurch 360 Trail runs from Riccarton Bush to the Halswell Quarry Park.
The name Opawaho Divide comes from the fact this leg crosses over from the Avon/Otakaro watershed to the Heathcote/Opawaho watershed, just like the Main Divide separates the western watersheds from the eastern watersheds – but at a somewhat more imperceptible altitude change!
The track is approximately 16.1 km long, and will take a typical walker around 6 – 7 hrs.
Description of Route
You can find a Google Map of the route here.
The track starts in Titoki Street, near the corner with Rimu St, outside Riccarton Bush.
Follow Rimu St south, then turn right into Rata St. Follow Rata St into Kauri St, then turn right into Riccarton Rd.
Go west along Riccarton St to the traffic lights at the intersection with Matipo St. Use the crossing lights to cross Riccarton Rd. Follow Matipo St south, down the western side of the road.
You will get to a major intersection with Blenheim Rd. Use the lights to cross Blenheim Rd. You will need to first cross Matipo to the other side, then cross Blenheim, before crossing back to the western side of Matipo St. This will give you the best view of the plantings and cultivation in the planted detention pond and reserve behind the industrial buildings to the west of Matipo St, part of a stormwater management system.
Continue along the road, over the railway lines, and down to the roundabout on Wrights Rd. At the roundabout, turn right to follow Birmingham Drive. When you come to Marylands Reserve, enter it and follow the path into the park, crossing the park to the Marylands Cycleway. Follow the Marylands Cycleway west to the end of Annex Rd. Cross under the Christchurch Southern Motorway through the tunnel to rejoin Annex Rd on the other side.
Continue down Annex Rd until you get to the Kiwi Kids Preschool. Opposite here is a small reserve, take the lane through here to Mokihi Gardens. Go south-west to the T-intersection, then cross the intersection to the path that continues towards the south-west. When you get near the stream, follow it to the south-east. There is an open park space next to Jamiesons Bush, with a path that rejoins Annex Rd. Follow Annex Rd to Halswell Rd, turn right and go south-west along Halswell Rd, and use the lights at the intersection of Curletts Rd to safely cross Curletts Rd.
Take the pathway north-west alongside Curletts Rd. Cross the bridge over the Heathcote River, then take the left track to follow the Heathcote River upstream. Continue along this path until you get to the southern corner of Canterbury Park. Here the Heathcote River is not more than a swale. You can cross the watercourse here, and keep it on your right as you make your way between the Aidanfield Christian School on your left and the St John of God complex on your right. Continue alongside the river to Nash Rd. Cut across the park near the end of Nash Rd, and look for the crossing point on Aidanfield Drive. Cross Aidanfield Drive, and follow the swale through Nash Reserve.
Cross McMahon Drive, and continue following the Nash Reserve swale as far as the end of Annies Lane. Take the path through the reserve alongside Annies Lane, to Date Crescent. Go south-west on Date Crescent to Bibiana St. Continue straight ahead down the lane that cuts through to Burbank Drive. Turn left on Burbank Drive, then right into Cyclamen Pl. After Cyclamen Place bends right, you will find a reserve on the left. Cut through here to Dunbars Rd. Cross Dunbars Rd safely, and enter Lancewood Drive. Turn right, and continue until Lakeview Pl. Turn into Lakeview Pl, and at the end of the cul-de-sac you will see a lane through a reserve. Continue through here to Eskdale Pl. Turn right out of Eskdale into Westlake Drive. Continue west along Westlake Drive to the Westlake Reserve.
The Christchurch 360 Trail loops around the lake in Westlake Reserve, heading north-west first, before returning to the eastern side of the lake near Westlake Drive.
Instead of rejoining Westlake Drive, take the path that runs to the east along the north edge of the park. At the eastern corner, take the path that exits the park to the east. Exit the park, turning right onto Lancewood Dr. Follow Lancewood Dr south until it becomes Wales St. Follow Wales St to Oakridge St, turn right, then turn right again into Nicholls Rd. At the end of Nicholls Rd, turn left into Halswell Junction Rd. Follow Halswell Junction Rd east until you get to the pedestrian refuge, and use this to cross Halswell Junction Rd safely. Continue east to the intersection with Halswell Rd. Cross Halswell Rd safely using the signalised crossing, then continue south along Kennedys Bush Rd. Turn right into School Rd, left into Larsens Rd, Left into Glovers Rd, then right back onto Kennedys Bush Rd.
Continue down Kennedys Bush Rd to the Cashmere Rd intersection. Cross Kennedys Bush Rd safely here, and enter Halswell Quarry Park from off Cashmere Rd. Cross the Halswell Quarry Park fields to the southern ponds, make your way east around the top of the ponds, and head towards the Halswell Quarry carpark. The sign marks the end this leg of the Christchurch 360 Trail and the start of the Sugarloaf Hills leg.
You need not tackle the entire leg in one go, if you do not have the time or the strength. There are a number of places where the Opawaho Divide leg runs closely to the road network, and there are several places where you will be able to park up and start the walk at intermediate points.
Here are natural segments for the walk, with approximate walking times between these points.
Start: Riccarton Bush. Streetside car parking is available here, though it can be difficult to find an open space, especially when the Riccarton Market is happening on Saturday mornings.
2.7km 1hr 15 mins
Marylands Reserve, off Burmingham Drive: Streetside car parking is available here, though it can be difficult to find an open space during working hours.
4.6km 1hr 45 mins
Canterbury Agricultural Park, Augustine Drive: Streetside car parking is available here.
3.8km 1hr 30 mins
Westlake Park, Westlake Drive: A car park services the lakeside park.
5.4km 2hrs 15 mins
End: Halswell Quarry Park. Car parking is available here.
Traffic: The Christchurch 360 Trail passes alongside some roads that experience heavy traffic flows at times. There are places where it is necessary to cross roads, including multi-lane highways. Please exercise extreme caution at all times around traffic.
Cycles: The Christchurch City Council will not allow us to promote the Christchurch 360 as a cycling route, because a route promoted as a cycling route might be perceived by some users as having an implied suitability for cycling that could reduce their level of safety awareness, and as the Christchurch 360 Trail does not follow streets that meet standards required for cycleways, cyclists may be exposed to unacceptable risks. Because of that, we are not permitted to mark or recommend a cycle route option for the Christchurch 360. If you choose of your own initiative to follow the Christchurch 360 on your bike, please ride safely and responsibly, and follow the road rules.
Things to see
Matipo St Detention Pond
Canterbury Agricultural Park
St John of God
Westlake Park’s lake
Halswell Junction Rd “Tree House”
Larsens Rd Craig Pauling’s House
Flora & Fauna
Bellbird/Korimako Anthornis melanura:
The bellbird’s loud, melodious song can be heard in bush along the coast and waterways and in trees and patches of bush in the Port Hills. Bellbirds are easier to hear than see, as their dark olive plumage makes it easy for them to blend in to the surrounding foliage.
Bellbirds feed on nectar, insects and fruits, and they play an important role in pollinating native plant species.
The bellbird is endemic to New Zealand.
Black-backed Gull/Karoro Larus dominicanus dominicanus:
The black-backed gull is New Zealand’s largest gull. It has a white body with black upperparts, yellow legs and a yellow bill. Chicks peck at the red spot at the tip of the parent’s bill to stimulate regurgitation. Fledged offspring are mottled brown.
Black-backed gulls scavenge from human populations and are more aggressive than the red-billed gulls they are often seen with.
Fantail/Piwakawaka Rhipidura fuliginosa:
This friendly native is recognised by its long tail, acrobatic flight and tinny cheep. Fantails feed on insects in bush and shrub and are found in many different habitats. If you walk through bush and there are fantails nearby, they will come and check you out. Photos are difficult, however, as fantails seldom stay in one place for more than a moment.
There are two morphs. The most well-known, the pied morph, is dark brown, with a cream-coloured belly and black and white bands. The black morph is dark brown all over, with no banding and a white spot behind each eye. About a quarter of South Island fantails are black.
Silvereye or Waxeye/Tahou Zosterops lateralis:
The silvereye is slightly smaller than a sparrow, with an olive head, grey and buff body and a distinctive white ring around each eye. Young birds do not have the white rings. They have a quiet, high-pitched call.
The silvereye was first recorded in New Zealand in the 1830s and has since spread throughout both islands. Silvereyes tend to flock in flowering bushes. They eat insects, nectar and fruit.
Grey duck/Parera and Mallard Anas superciliosa (grey) and Anas platyrhynchos (mallard)
Grey ducks and mallards are found on many New Zealand lakes and rivers. Both male and female grey ducks are similar in appearance to mallard females. Because the two species interbreed, the plumage of male mallards varies considerably.
Mallards are larger and more dominant, and as a result grey ducks are critically endangered.
New Zealand scaup Aythya novaeseelandiae:
This small diving duck can be found in waterways around Christchurch. The male has bright yellow eyes and both male and female have dark brown plumage.
Paradise shelduck/Putakitaki Tadorna variegata:
The Paradise shelduck is large and goose-like and can be found in parks and along waterways throughout Christchurch. Often found in pairs, the female is the more striking bird, with a white head and chestnut-coloured body. The male is darker, with a black head.
In flight, the male gives a low honk, while the female answers with a higher-pitched call.
Ducklings are brown and white-striped, and fledged young resemble the male.
Pukeko Porphyrio porphyria:
Pukeko are often seen alongside waterways and in paddocks. It has blue and black plumage, a red bill and shield and long red legs. Pukeko eat mostly vegetation, but will eat eggs, invertebrates and other small animals.
Pukeko chicks are black and fluffy, with their parents’ large feet.
Food & Refreshments
Bus 130 runs bi-directionally between Hornby and Burnside, weaving crazily through Upper Riccarton, Riccarton, back towards Ilam, through Avonhead, before lurching up towards Burnside. So while it runs conveniently enough between (roughly) Avonhead Park and Riccarton Bush, you will almost certainly need to catch a connecting bus to get to anywhere useful.
Several busses run along Riccarton Road, besides the 130 – 100, 120, 140, 80, Orbiter, Purple (Airport to X), Yellow (Hornby (Rolleston) to X).
The bus that runs closest to the end of the leg at Halswell Quarry is the 100 bus, which terminates its run by looping around the Larsens Rd, School Rd, Kennedys Bush Rd, and Glovers Rd block. This bi-direction route runs west wide of the CBD, before swinging east to the north of the CBD and ending up at The Palms mall in Shirley. It could be used to get onto the Orange Line route, where you can change buses.
The Orange Line route runs between Halswell and Queenspark, bi-directionally, via the central bus exchange.
Nearby Points of Interest
Westfield Riccarton Mall
Hagley Park & Botanic Gardens
Halswell Domain model steam train rides