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Art & Heritage

Kawatiri Rail Tunnel Trail – Historic Walk

Enjoy the Nelson Kawatiri Rail Tunnel historic walk. The short easy walk is a great reason to pull over, stretch the legs and enjoy your first glimpses of tea coloured rivers of the West Coast, South Island

THE RAIL BRIDGE IS CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE DUE TO HEALTH & SAFETY

Regardless of the walk being truncated due to the bridge’s instability enjoy walking along the river bank, peering into the crystal clear tea coloured Kawatiri River and the West Coast’s lush vegetation. 

 

There is an information shelter, picnic site and toilets beside the large parking area. The walk starts from a carpark with information panels detailing the rich history of the area. The drive from Nelson to Murchison, through mountain beech forest, is your first taste of South Island high country forest and it is tantalizing.

Kawatiri tunnel in Nelson New Zealand by @fionyu.tw
Kawatiri Tunnel - Instagram @fionyu.tw
Kawatiri historic railway walk in Nelson New Zealand by @seba.ira
Kawatiri Historic Railway Walk - Instagram @seba.ira

At the Kawatiri junction, wander to the river and there is the famous tea coloured water of the Southern Alps. It looks as though crystal clear water has had tea poured into the stream. Vegetation leeches tannin and favours the water with light bronze colours. 

 

Located at Kawatiri Junction at the intersection of SH6 and SH63, the Kawatiri Rail Tunnel is 35 km northeast of Murchison. 

 

This easy walk follows a short section of the former railway line that ran from Nelson towards Murchison.

After 200 metres the track crosses an old rail bridge before passing through a train tunnel built in 1923. A torch is helpful but not essential. The track returns via beech forest above the Hope River closing the loop at the entrance to the tunnel.

 

Length: 1.5km

Duration: 30 minutes

Grade: easy

Dogs on leash: allowed

KAWATIRI RAIL TUNNEL LOCATION

INTERESTING FACT NOTE

INTERESTING FACT NOTE AFFILIATE PARTNER STATEMENT

This walk is NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH the Kawatiri Coastal trail – Westport top pick – Best Bits the Westport cycle and walking track exploring the Buller River mouth area.

@KawatiriCoastalTrail
@KawatiriCoastalTrail
AFFILIATE PARTNER STATEMENT
Our editors independently visit tour operators, purchase tickets, pay for accommodation, and rate products and places. We are not paid to go on a tour or visit a place. We only make money if you decide to purchase a product through our website links. We promise to never accept free products from manufacturers in return for boosting their products. Read more about our affiliate programme in the terms and conditions HERE.

 

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