The Rangitata River is famous for its salmon fishery.
It originates high in the Southern Alps and is prone to floods and freshes from high rainfall and snowmelt, particularly from warm nor’west wind conditions that occur throughout the main salmon season from November to March. The duration of unfishable periods is usually short and good fishing can be experienced as discoloured waters begin to clear. Best fishing at the mouth is generally from mid-November to mid-March. Up river salmon fishing is better from January to the end of March.
The Rangitata is also noted for its sea-run brown trout early in the season. Brown and rainbow trout fishing above the gorge is considered underrated. Be prepared for windy conditions before you embark on an adventure above the gorge.
Access to the Rangitata River is available throughout its length on public or private land or where landowners allow access. An overview of the commonly used access points is describe below. The full access point descriptions are available in our Rangitata River access pamphlet. You can view and download this pamphlet here just scroll to the bottom of the page and click the link. Alternatively please phone our office and ask to be posted a copy 03 6158400.
There are fishing hut settlements on both the north and south side of the river mouth.
To reach the north side huts travel via the Hinds-Rangitata Mouth Road which turns off from SH1, 2km south of Hinds Township. Travelling from the south, turn off immediately north of Rangitata Bridge along the Ealing-Coldstream Road.
For the south side huts; travelling from the north on SH1 turn off on to Rangitata Island Road, then onto Badham road and finally onto Orton Road. From the south turn off at Temuka Township and follow the ‘Rangitata Huts Settlements’ sign posts.
Between the North Side Huts and SH1 there are two access points from the Ealing – Coldstream Road the Old Main South Road access point is most commonly used (16km). It is 2.5 from here to SH1.
On the south side, access to the river is available at Badham Road (known as Wades Crossing, 12km from mouth), Dip Road (15km), Brodie Road (18km), and Old South Road (19.5km). It is a further 2.5km from here along the Rangitata Island Road to SH1.
Proceeding upstream via Arundel-Rangitata Road, the river can be accessed at Lewis Road (6km from SH1) before joining SH72 at the Arundel Bridge (10km). Best parking at Arundel Bridge is on the South Side.
From Arundel Bridge, travel via Ferry Road to Peel Forest and then along the Rangitata Gorge Road. Access to the river is at Ferry Road, Peel Forest camping ground, Lynn Stream.
At this point the road swings away from the river but re-joins at White Rock Station. At Rata Peaks 10km upstream from here, Fisherman’s Lane leads to the river. Access is also available several kilometres further up the road via the Forest Creek Riverbed, and at a marked river access point near Doctor Sinclair’s Grave at Mesopotamia Station.
There are two commonly used point in this section. From Arundel Bridge continue along SH72 for 1.4km and turn off onto Rangitata Terrace Road and travel for 7km to Baxters Road corner. From here follow the terrace track for another 1.5km to the stock water intake. Walk a short distance from here.
To reach the bottom of the gorge travel up Baxters Road for a short distance and continue in an upriver direction along the Ealing-Montalto Road for 6km to Shepherds Bush Road corner. A further 14.5km brings you to the Klondyke Terrace Road. This is a public road only as far as the Rangitata Diversion Race (RDR) bridge (2km). Beyond there for the next 4km to the river the road is owned and maintained by RDR Management Ltd who allow vehicle access at your own risk.
The road ends at the RDR intake; beyond there the landowners of Klondyke and Tenehaun Stations permit foot access only to allow anglers to fish the gorge area. All they ask is that anglers recognise they are on private land and they observe the following public courtesies. No guns or dogs and observe all signage which has been erected for your protection and safety.