Riccarton Bush

Riccarton Bush Pūtaringamotu is a 10 minute stroll through a tranquil grove of tall kahikatea trees at the heart of this ancient native forest.

Riccarton Bush

As Canterbury’s sole remnant of kahikatea floodplain forest, Riccarton Bush has national significance. For 300,000 years, the shifting gravels of the Waimakariri River triggered a changing mosaic of podocarp forests across the Canterbury Plains. In response to a continual cycle of flooding, forests established wherever suitable conditions were created, only to be destroyed in their turn. These 600-year-old kahikatea trees are the latest generation of a forest that established on this site 3000 years ago. They have survived through two cultural periods, Maori then European, that saw widespread fires sweep the Plains and native vegetation give way to pastoralism and cropping.

Become a Kiwi Guardian

Riccarton Bush Kiwi GuardiansDepartment of Conservation and Toyota have teamed up to create Kiwi Guardians – an activity programme for kids to learn about nature, earn cool rewards and go on epic family adventures.

Download the adventure map (PDF, 1,083K) and go exploring Riccarton Bush Pūtaringamotu.

Look out for the Guardian Post when you get there. On it you’ll find a special code word – write it down.

Tell DOC the Riccarton Bush code word to recieve a special medal for this adventure.

Put the medal on your backpack or pencil case to show everyone the adventure you’ve had.

Each Kiwi Guardians place has a different medal – see how many you can collect.

Guided bush walks

Guided eco tours through the ancient native forest of Riccarton Bush are available for groups of 10 or more visitors. Bookings are essential. Please contact our Ranger for further details and your requirements.

  • Telephone – 03 341 1018 (Riccarton House during office hours)
  • Mobile 021 133 2280
  • Fax 03 341 6839