The Waimakariri River is the largest of the North Canterbury rivers, in the South Island of New Zealand. It flows for 151 kilometres in a generally southeastward direction from the Southern Alps across the Canterbury Plains to the Pacific Ocean.
The river rises on the eastern flanks of the Southern Alps, eight kilometres southwest of Arthur's Pass. For much of its upper reaches, the river is braided, with wide shingle beds. As the river approaches the Canterbury Plains, it passes through a belt of mountains, and is forced into a narrow canyon (the Waimakariri Gorge), before reverting to its braided form for its passage across the plains. It finally enters the Pacific north of Christchurch, near the town of Kaiapoi.