What to Do in Little River: The Gateway to the Banks Peninsula
Leave the hustle and bustle of Christchurch behind and welcome to the “alternative” village of Little River. Whether you make your way here by road or by bike, it will be hard to resist the allure of this intriguing little town. Little River is home to artists and alternative lifestylers, offering funky accommodation in silos, yurts and selling their arts and crafts in the multiple galleries. The Little River Railway Station is also a photo-worthy spot with heritage railway wagons and marking the start of the Little River Rail Trail cycle trail. Find out about that and more with this list of things to do in Little River.
1. Cycle the Little River Rail Trail
Take in some of the highlights of Christchurch on this 49km (30-mile) bike trail between Little River and Hornby. The Little River Rail Trail follows the path of an old railway line, passing two gorgeous lakes that are home to more than 100 migratory and local birds. Another highlight is riding along Birdlings Flat, a beach rich in gemstones and dramatic scenery. Bikes are available to rent in Little River so there’s no excuse not to tackle the trail yourself.
Location: Little River town
2. Check Out the Local Arts and Crafts
Little River is a creative little town, made evident by two of the most prominent buildings being art galleries! Pop into the Little River Cafe & Gallery to see contemporary paintings, jewellery and sculptures. It’s also worth stopping by the Little River Craft & Information Centre at the railway station to pick up some authentic souvenirs from local artisans. Browse knitwear, hats, pottery, preserves, postcards, woodworks, jewellery, gemstones, flowers, soaps, leatherwork, quilts, clocks, silk crafts, toys, books and more! The railway station also has heritage displays in the outbuildings and railway wagons.
Location: Both venues are on the Christchurch-Akaroa Highway
3. Stay in Some Unique Accommodation
Little River is home to some of the South Island’s funkiest accommodation. Either stay in one of the unique and eco-friendly SiloStay, with two rooms set in each giant silo. There’s also Okuti Garden where you can choose to either stay in the yurt, tipi, truck or farmhouse. Find more accommodation like this in our 10 Unique Accommodations in the South Island.
Location: SiloStay -Christchurch-Akaroa Highway, Okuti Garden – 216 Okuti Valley Road
4. Explore the Hidden Bays of the Banks Peninsula
Little River is a great base to start exploring some of the lesser-known bays of the Banks Peninsula. Get on your bike (or e-bike for the hills) or in your car and start making your way around the peaceful and quiet bays like Port Levy, Pigeon Bay, Okains Bay and Little Akaloa – just to name a few.
Location: Take the Summit Road, 10km (6 miles) east from Little River, and follow with signposts to the various bays.
5. Visit Akaroa
Little River is the gateway to the Banks Peninsula, where a huge range of activities awaits in the hub of Akaroa. Dolphin swimming, sailing tours, a penguin sanctuary, an alpaca farm, jet boat tours and much more can be done in this Banks Peninsula town. So once you have seen the sights of Little River and checked out some of the nearby bays, hit Akaroa. See the 11 Free or Cheap Things to Do in Akaroa and 10 Things We Love About Akaroa for more information.
Location: Christchurch-Akaroa Highway, 28km (17 miles) east of Little River