A short walking track passing through the historic Kawatiri Rail Tunnel (built in 1923), on the former Nelson Railway Line. Located at Kawatiri Junction, the State Highway 6-State Highway 63 junction, between Nelson and Murchison.
|Length: 1.3 km|
|Time Required: 20-30 min|
|Trail Type: Walking track|
|Physical Difficulty: Very Easy|
|Uses: Walking only|
The track is located at Kawatiri Junction, which is the junction of State Highway 6 and State Highway 63, 77 km southwest of Nelson and 35 km northeast of Murchison (see Access tab above). There is a car park on the left side of the road where the historic Kawatiri Station platform remains. The platform now hosts information panels that provide information on the history of the rail line and the Pikomanu settlement that used to exist nearby.
The walkway crosses Hope River over a pedestrian footbridge that utilises the old rail bridge piers. The tunnel is reached immediately after the bridge. You can walk the tunnel without a torch, though it would be handy to have one as there can be puddles. At the northern tunnel portal the old bridge piers can be seen in Hope River bed. The track climbs a staircase and passes through beech forest, follows Woodhen Bend in Hope River and return back to the southern tunnel portal to complete the loop. Just before you return to the southern tunnel portal you will notice a small hollow cut into the rock on the hill slope on the left; this was used as an explosives store by tunnel construction workers. Cross the bridge back to the car park to finish the the walk.