WorldView-2 (0.5m) Satellite Image of Rakaia River, New Zealand
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(Image Copyright DigitalGlobe and Courtesy of Satellite Imaging Corporation)
The Rakaia River is in the Canterbury Plains in New Zealand’s South Island. The Rakaia River is one of the largest braided rivers in New Zealand.
Close to Mount Hutt, however, it is briefly confined to a narrow canyon known as the Rakaia Gorge. In the 1850s, European settlers named it the Cholmondeley River, but this name lapsed into disuse. The Rakaia River is bridged in two places. The busiest crossing is at the small town of Rakaia, 20 kilometres from the river mouth, where State Highway 1 and the South Island Main Trunk Railway cross the river using separate bridges. These two bridges are New Zealand’s longest road and rail bridges respectively, approximately 1.75 km long. A second bridge, much shorter and less used, spans the Rakaia Gorge.
The Rakaia River is a celebrated Chinook salmon fishery. The Rakaia is known for its large wrybill population which represents 73 percent of the total population. Other important bird species known to be found in the Rakaia riverbed are Wrybill, Black fronted Tern and Banded Dotterel.