Dunedin

Hiking the Taieri River Track, Dunedin

The drive from Dunedin to Taieri Mouth takes you through part of the Southern Scenic Route. You’ll find a few nice beaches to stop off at and an awesome hike at the end of it all – the Taieri River Track. This track takes you high above the river for some awesome views and can be shortened to allow for maximum reward.

Getting There

From Dunedin it’ll take you around 30 minutes to drive to Taieri Mouth. If you have some time to kill, I’d recommend stopping off at Tunnel Beach and Brighton Beach along the way, but if you’re in a hurry and want to see a great beach you’ll be well served at Taieri Mouth.

The Beach

There are lots of different sections of beach at Taieri Mouth and it’s a fun place for a stroll. You can walk around the calm, river sections or head to the rugged ocean side. In this distance you’ll see Taieri Island, which apparently you can walk to (although I saw signs urging people not to).

The Taieri River Track

The Taieri River Track starts at the end of Riverside Road in the small settlement of Taieri Mouth. You’ll see some cute houses by the river, and from there you’ll head around some small bays and up some short climbs through the forest.

There are plenty of clearings in the forest where you’ll get some nice views across the river. Occasionally you’ll get down by the river where you might see some birds wading in the shallow water.

After a little bit of up and down hiking you’ll soon come to a big climb. The track winds its way up through native bush, with the occasional clearing allowing for some great views of the Taieri River.

At the top there’s a seat where you can see over a U-shaped bend in the river. You can see all the way back to the coast, with Taieri Island prominent, and over the river as it heads inland towards the upper Taieri Gorge.

It’s an amazing view, so good in fact that I turned around there and went back. I usually like to finish hikes like this, but the Taieri River Track actually goes all the way to Henley (a few more kilometres), and with my car back in Taieri Mouth I didn’t fancy walking that far. Many people go a little further than I did – to John Bull Gully picnic area, but I figured I’d seen the best views and didn’t want to walk all the way down, and back up, a big hill (let me know in the comments below if you’ve walked further than I did).

Taieri River Track FAQS

  • How long does it take? It took me around 1 hour and 40 minutes to hike this section of the Taieri River Track. Add another hour, I’m guessing, to the picnic area or another couple of hours to walk all the way to Henley and back. If you want to see that side of the track you could start in Henley and walk back towards Taieri Mouth for a bit.
  • Is it hard? There’s quite a bit of uphill hiking involved but it’s fairly easy. Apparently it gets muddy at times, so wear decent shoes if you’ve got them.

  • Where does it rank in Dunedin’s best hikes? It’s definitely up there. At the top of that list I’d put the Silver Peaks, followed by Mount Cargill and the Heyward Point Track. The Taieri River Track follows closely behind those two.
  • What about the Taieri Gorge Railway? The train trip through the Taieri Gorge is further upriver and the views are quite different. It’s one of the top things to do in Dunedin – check out my post for lots more photos!

Are you planning a trip to the South Island? Check out our travel guide!

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who has just returned home after 6 years abroad. Join me as I see as much of the South Island as I can.

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