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5 Best Walks in Fairlie

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Walking Trails & Hiking Trails in Fairlie.

The rural town of Fairlie is a popular stop for those road tripping on the South Island between Christchurch and Lake Tekapo. But many fail to realise that it’s also a fantastic place to stretch your legs and experience the great outdoors. There are walks for a variety of sceneries, from easy-going riverside walks to scrambles through the forest. You’ll also discover interesting historical places on heritage trails. All of the walks in Fairlie listed here are also suitable for cyclists.

While you’re here, you might also be interested in 10 Things to Do in Fairlie and 10 Unmissable Things to Do in Lake Tekapo.

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1. Fairlie River Walk (40 minutes one way)

An attractive walk accessible from Fairlie town, the Fairlie River Walk follows the Opihi River. Evidence of a large flood that occurred in 1994 can still be seen along the trail, which ends where the track splits to either take a track to Talbot Rock or continue to the Opihi Gorge Track. From the end of the Fairlie River Walk, either return the same way or along Talbot Street. From the end of the Opihi Gorge Track, either return the same way or via State Highway 8.

Location: Just past the holiday park, 14 Allandale Road.
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2. Opihi Walkway (2 hours one way)

Otherwise known as the Fairlie-Kimbell Walk, the Opihi Walkway is a multi-use walk and cycle trail. The walk goes between the northwest side of the Allandale Bridge in Fairlie and the Stoneleigh Bridge near Kimbell. The easy-going trail takes in another part of the Opihi River with plenty of stops beside the river. The walk also features rural views backed by mountains.

Location: Northwest side of the Allendale Bridge
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3. Burkes Pass Heritage Walk (2 hours one way)

Discover the fascinating little town of Burkes Pass, with plenty of picturesque heritage buildings. Pick up an information guide from the church, a Gothic-style building built in 1872, and set out on the trail. Highlights include the little red Musterers Hut packed with heritage artefacts and a book telling funny local stories.

Location: State Highway 8, 25km west of Fairlie
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4. Jack Lovelock Track (1h30mins one way)

Another fantastic walk starts from Fairlie, the Jack Lovelock Track takes in the rural scenery of the town with stunning mountain backdrops. The 8km roundtrip starts from School Road. There are three ford/river crossings on the track which can be flowing so be prepared to get your feet wet! The walk ends on Nixon’s Road, which you can follow back to Fairlie.

Location: School Road
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5. Pioneer Park Walks (30 minutes return & 2-hour loop)

A short distance from Fairlie as the crow flies, Pioneer Park is a conservation area with some beautiful natural New Zealand forest. There are two walks here. The Homebush Track (30-minute loop) starts at the campground and crosses a stream to a ridge with some impressive stands of kahikatea (white pine) and totara trees. The White Pine Track (2-hour loop) is a bit more like hiking, taking you through regenerating forest and pine forest with some stream crossings. This walk is also a popular walk to do from Geraldine. Check out more activities there in our 10 Things to Do in Geraldine.

Location: Gudex Road, 21km drive east of Fairlie
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