A wonderful walk along the estuarine salt marshes of the lower Heathcote River with extensive views of the Port Hills. The walk is best at mid to low tide as some of the paths can get flooded at high tide.

Heathcote towpath. Start: Gould Crescent, Heathcote.

Finish: Same as the starting point.

Distance: 4km.

Time: 1 hour 15 minutes.

Dogs: Must be kept on a leash around the estuary.

Description:

From Gould Crescent walk to the Heathcote River and follow the grassy banks downstream to Tunnel Road. There is a concrete path under the bridge which can be taken at mid to low tide but it can get very slippery with river silt.

On the other side is a bollard monument indicating that the early coastal vessels used to harbour here at what became known as Stream Wharf from 1856. A trail heads downstream with native plantings shielding busy Ferry Road. The path swings around the back of the factories on Settlers Crescent with excellent views of the Port Hills.

Footbridges cross small tidal inlets and the path passes a viewing platform before leading around to the well positioned bird hide. The path continues along a line of macrocarpa trees beside a row of factories and goes over a low mound to an information platform opposite Ferrymead Historic Park. This was the site of the first European ferry across the river in 1851.

You can walk wither onto Settlers Crescent or direct to Ferry Road and follow Ferry Road back to Gould Crescent. Alternatively and more pleasantly retrace your steps back along the towpath.