Milford Lagoon


As you stand at the mouth of the Opihi River at Milford, the water flowing past you and out to sea has travelled from as far afield as the eastern flanks of Fox Peak to the north of its river catchment and Mount Nessing to the south.

The Opihi rises 1,000m (approx.) above sea level, north of Burke’s Memorial on State Highway 8, 4km west of Burke’s Pass.

The Opihi drains part of the Two Thumbs Range, Mount Burgess, Mount Maude and Mount Dobson, flowing down through Kimbell and passing through Fairlie to Raincliff Bridge where it collects the Opuha River, a journey of some 44km.

The Opuha drains a vast area to the north-west from Butler Saddle in the Ben McLeod Range, the Sherwood Range and Fox Peak, the eastern side of Roundhill Ski Area, Mount Misery, Sugarloaf and the northern slopes of Mount Dobson in the Two Thumb Range. The North and South branches of the Opuha meet in Lake Opuha before heading downstream to Raincliff and the Opihi.

From Raincliff the Opihi now nourished with the waters of the Opuha heads east for a further 15km to Pleasant Point and its confluence with the incorrectly named Te Ngawai (Tengawai) River, or Te Ana a Wai to give it its proper name.

The Te Ana a Wai drains the Dalgety Range, Mount Nessing, Rollesby Range, and the Albury Range, flows through Albury and Cave and onto Pleasant Point.  From here the Opihi heads to the Pacific passing Kerrytown, Waiapi, Arowhenua, Orakipaoa and Waipopo, a journey of 77km.

The shingle braids of the Opihi support nesting colonies of the globally rare and endangered Black Billed Gull, the most world's most threatened species of gull.  Canterbury supports over one third of the national population.  You can learn more about the Black Billed Gull on the Department of Conservation web site:

Maximum stay 3 nights (please arrive after 4pm and leave before 10am)

Please camp responsibly:

Always use a toilet

Please don’t litter

Please dispose of toilet waste sensibly

Respect your fellow campers

Be prepared

Weather in New Zealand can change unexpectedly so make sure you check the forecast for any warnings and always carry appropriate provisions.

We appreciate your help in preserving the beauty of our District by camping responsibly and protecting our natural environment.

Please enjoy your stay.

Last updated: 16 Sep 2021