Ferrymead Park

Ferrymead Park is a lovely area set along the Ōpāwaho/Heathcote River and estuary. Enjoy one of the dedicated walking tracks or explore the wider area, rich in history, culture and nature.

The Ōpāwaho River Track, between Tunnel Road and Ferrymead Park Drive, will be closed for a tree felling operation from late June 2024.

The track is expected to be closed for approximately 6 weeks. Please follow all on site signage and closures.

Find out more about the Ferrymead Park Development Plan.

Visit

Ferrymead Park is made up of 76 hectares of open area – perfect for kicking a ball, exercising the dog or taking advantage of one of the attractive walkways detailed below. 

Access

Bridle Path Rd off the Ferrymead end of Ferrymead Park Drive, Ferrymead

Metro info(external link) has up-to-date bus information.

Gate and open times

  • Gates are open from 8am to 9pm, year-round.
  • Ring Christchurch City Council on 0800 800 169 or 941 8999 to release locked in vehicles, at owner's expense.

Dogs

Dogs must be on a leash along the Ōpāwaho River Track but may be under effective control in both the sports park and on the Matuku Lakes Loop Track.

History

A long time ago, Ferrymead, like much of Christchurch, would have been made up of wetlands and waterways. Before Christchurch was urbanised, the Ōpāwaho/Heathcote river habitat was lush and abundant in harakeke (flax), raupo and ferns. Tuna (eels), lamprey, whitebait, mussels and koura (crayfish) flourished and were a great food source for local Maori. The river and surrounding forest was an important mahinga kai (food gathering site) and waterway for travelling around Canterbury by canoe.

Ferrymead is also an important suburb in the history of Christchurch city. When the early colonists arrived by ship in Lyttelton, they had to cart their belongings over the steep Bridle Path to Heathcote, where punts were used to cross the river into Christchurch. In later years, goods were transported by sea up the estuary – an expensive exercise that cost more than bringing cargo from the UK to Lyttelton. The first railway in New Zealand opened in 1863 and ran from Ferrymead into central Christchurch. 

For an in-depth history of the area, visit Ferrymead Heritage Park(external link). The Edwardian style attraction features an early 1900s town complete with restored cottages, a school house, church, businesses and an operating steam train once a month.

Volunteer

Get involved in your local park by volunteering with Forest and Bird at Calder Green Reserve(external link), a saltmarsh nestled on the lower Ōpāwaho/Heathcote river.

Forest and Bird aim to maintain an open sanctuary for the protection of endemic flora and fauna of the area.

Walks

Enjoy a river or lake-side stroll at Ferrymead Park on one of the tracks below:

Ferrymead Regional Park development plan

We have developed a two stage plan for Ferrymead Park in consultation with various Council Units, Mahaanui Kurataiao Ltd, the Ngāi Tuāhuriri Kaitiaki Committee, key stakeholder groups, users of the park and the Heathcote Community Association.

As part of stage one, we are removing the large stand of pine trees along the bank of the lower Ōpāwaho Heathcote River. Once the pine trees have been removed, the area will be replanted with almost 12000 native plants.

Trees to be removed.

The project has been assessed by the Council Biodiversity Team and included an assessment of the trees and their ecological value to the area. A small number of existing trees will be left for roosting for the local birdlife. The other exotic trees are recommended for removal to allow for a more appropriate forest type to be developed.

Works will begin in June and run for approximately six weeks. Most of the Ōpāwaho River Track, the walkway between Tunnel Road and Ferrymead Park Drive, will be closed during this time.

The works have been approved by the Waihoro Spreydon-Cashmere-Heathcote Community Board as part of the Ferrymead Regional Park Development Plan.

Download the stage one [PDF, 3.4 MB] and stage two [PDF, 3.4 MB] Ferrymead Regional Park development plans for more information on future developments in this area.

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