Little River, New Zealand

Little River is a town on Banks Peninsula in the Canterbury region of New Zealand.

Little River
Welcome sign leaning against the goods shed of the former Little River Railway Station


Little River Railway Station (December 2020)

Little River is approximately 30 minutes drive from Akaroa, a tourist destination on Banks Peninsula, and 45 minutes drive from Christchurch. It is on State Highway 75, which links Christchurch and Akaroa.

Little River, New Zealand (December 2020)

The road from Christchurch is at sea level but once past Little River, the road rises steeply to the top of the summit road. From the summit at Hilltop, all of the bays on the peninsula are accessible on equally steep roads. Not all roads are sealed and some are more suited to four wheel drive vehicles.

Rail Trail

The Little River Rail Trail is a cycling and walking track that opened in 2006, which largely follows the course of the old Little River Branch railway that ran to Little River from its junction with the Southbridge Branch in Lincoln. This branch line was opened to Little River on 11 March 1886, closed to passengers on 14 April 1951, and closed to all traffic on 30 June 1962. Between 1927 and 1934, Little River railway passengers were served by the experimental and popular Edison battery-electric railcar, the only one of its type to be built.[1]


The population early last century numbered in the thousands, and people were mainly employed in timber milling and farming. A fairly localised but major industry was the harvesting and threshing of cocksfoot.[citation needed]

Little River Railway Station (December 2020)

Today the population of the area is approximately one thousand people, with people moving into the area seeking a more country / rural lifestyle.

Agricultural and Pastoral Show

Every year in January the Little River Agricultural and Pastoral Show is held in the Awa-Iti Domain situated in the middle of the town. This attracts many visitors as well as exhibitors and competitors in the equestrian arena and the numerous displays of sheep, cattle, dog trialling, produce, floral and cooking.[2]


Little River flooded by the Okana River in October 2011

Little River nestles in a deep valley and myriads of streams and springs converge to form the Okana and Okuti Rivers. The combined waters form the Takiritawai River, a short stream which flows into the eastern end of Lake Wairewa / Lake Forsyth. The lake, rivers and streams abound in trout, perch (redfin) and eel. The world record for the largest brown trout caught was held by one of these rivers in the 1960s.[citation needed]

On 19 October 2011, the Okana River caused the worst flooding in Little River for many years, with State Highway 75 closed.[3] Long term residents believe that the flooding was the worst since the "Wahine storm" on 10 April 1968.[4]


  3. Gorman, Paul (19 October 2011). "Little River becomes big river". The Press. p. A1. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  4. Grenhill, Marc (21 October 2011). "Worst floods 'in 43 years'". The Press. p. A5.