April 10 (Reuters) - Australian shares rose on Wednesday, driven by gains in mining and healthcare stocks, as market participants awaited a key U.S. inflation reading due later in the day to gauge the future path of interest rates.

The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.5% to 7,859.40 by 0100 GMT, extending gains to a third session.

Investors across the globe will closely monitor the March reading of the U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) as they seek clues about the timing and depth of the Federal Reserve's expected rate cuts.

The data, which follows last week's strong jobs data, is expected to show a rise in headline inflation to 3.4% year-on-year, from 3.2% in February.

In Sydney, mining stocks climbed as much 0.8% to hit their highest since Feb. 5. Rio Tinto, BHP Group and Fortescue gained between 1% and 1.5%.

Healthcare stocks rose 1.6% and were on track for their best day since Jan. 23 if current gains held. Sector major CSL advanced as much as 1.5%.

Energy stocks fell as much as 0.6% to their lowest since March 28 amid falling oil prices. Woodside Energy retreated as much as 1.4% to its lowest level since March 25.

Shares of oil and gas firm Santos fell as much as 0.5%, hitting its lowest level since March 27.

Gold stocks declined as much as 0.6%, while rate-sensitive financials slipped as much as 0.2%.

In New Zealand, the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2% to 11,938.70 after six consecutive sessions of losses, with investors awaiting the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's monetary policy decision due at 0200 GMT.

A Reuters poll showed that the central bank will leave its key interest rate unchanged for a sixth consecutive meeting and wait until the third quarter before cutting it. (Reporting by Sherin Sunny in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)