Rainbow Road Access

The Rainbow Road was built in the 1950s when electricity pylons were installed to supply power to the Nelson and Buller regions.  The road runs from St Arnaud (the main gateway to the Upper Wairau Valley) through to Hanmer Springs in North Canterbury (134km north of Christchurch).

Rainbow Station, including its farmland and private formed roads and tracks, is leased from the Crown by Rainbow Station Farms Ltd.  It is not a public area and any use is a revocable privilege granted by the Leaseholder.

Important Information

The formed roads and tracks have not been engineered, nor are they maintained to meet the standards for public access.  Parts of it are hazardous.  The hazards are not individually signposted or marked.  Sudden weather changes can cause additional adverse conditions and/or additional hazards.  The Leaseholder consents to access by the public only on the basis that each person travels at his/her own risk, accepts full responsibility for his/her own safety, and accepts that the Leaseholder has no liability or responsibility of any sort for any injury, damage or accident to any person or property that enters Rainbow Station farmland and its surrounds, or when traversing the private formed tracks and/or roads.

Drivers are advised to use high-clearance 4WD vehicles.  It takes approximately three hours to traverse the 110km from St Arnaud to Hanmer or vice-versa.  There is no cell phone coverage and breakdown services may not operate in the private area.  Drivers also need to be self-sufficient and prepared for sudden changes in weather.  You drive at your own risk.

The floors of the Wairau, Rainbow and Paske Valley are farmed so please leave your dogs and domestic pets at home, leave gates as you find them, and respect stock, property and other users.

Rainbow Station Hunting

Hunting is strictly not permitted at any time, unless prior consent has been given from the Farm Manager directly, this is a serious Health & Safety issue first and foremost.

All hunters must have a valid DOC permit.


In season (gates open) 

Under normal conditions, the gates are unlocked daily from 7am-6pm between Boxing Day (26th December) and Easter Monday.  The applicable toll charges (see below) are payable to the Gate Manager on your way through.

During this time we must ask that visitors exercise extreme caution as this road is a multi hazard environment including ; livestock grazing on the road, particularly on the tight sections along the river and weather that can change very quickly. Please allow extra time for your journey and be prepared to stop to allow for stock (cattle, calves and sheep) to move. We must ask that all visitors stay alert during their use of this road.

Access Forms are required to be completed and signed by all users at all times.

You can download the access form by following this link: Rainbow Gate Seasonal Access Declaration

Off season (gates locked)

Rainbow Station Road is CLOSED to the public between Easter Tuesday and the 26th of December.   This is the offseason and due to winter weather conditions and farm operations, the road remains closed to the public over this period.  The road is often unpassable and the gates are locked.

Other non-public users that require access should contact the Station Manager on  +64 3 521 1838 (7-9pm, Mon-Thurs only)

Alternatively email; info@rainbowstation.co.nz for more information.

The road normally re-opens for public access on Boxing Day 26th December 2018.



Access Forms are required to be completed and signed by all users at all times.  

You can download the Access forms by following this link: Rainbow Off Season Access Declaration


Toll charges (payable all year round)

The new season 2017-2018 charges are:

$40 per 4WD Vehicle

$20 per Motorcycle

$5 per Mountain Biker

Trampers – No charge