Mount Oxford

  • 6 hr
  • Loop track
  • Easy/medium

A loop track leading over the summit of Mount Oxford and back through the foothill forest.

Lees Valley from Mount Oxford • By Matthew.
Key information
Time
6 hr
Allow
1 day
Distance
18.0km
Type
Loop track
Loop track
Grade
Easy/medium
Access
Bookings
No bookings — open access
No — open access
Starts
Coopers Creek car park, Mountain Road, west of Coopers Creek
Distance from you: ()
Other
Altitude
350m – 1,364m
Altitude change 1,014m
Maps
NZTopo50-BW22
Mt Oxford Summit in Winter • By sam4724.

Mount Oxford is a classic day trip from Christchurch. This circuit provides good views from the tops and a lot of diversity: dry beech forest, sub-alpine scrub, tussock tops, mountain beech "goblin forest", and lowland podocarp forest.

This description forms a circuit starting off from the Coopers Creek car park. It could also be walked from the View Hill car park.

The turn off to Coopers Creek is on the right at the western outskirts of Oxford. Beyond Coopers Creek, turn right onto Mountain Road and continue to the road end car park.

Just beyond the car park, the track branches with a vehicle track leading over a bridge. Follow this through farm land to Payton Lodge. The walking track heads left just beyond the lodge, dropping into forest and crossing a second bridge over Coopers Creek.

From here, follow a gentle spur through dry beech forest. The spur steepens and breaks out onto sub-alpine scrub soon afterward.  The final climb is up a smooth tussock slope to the summit trig (1364m).

The summit can be very windy if a nor'wester is blowing, making it hard to even stand up. To the east, the rounded ridge leads to Oxford Hill. Ashley Gorge and Mount Richardson are beyond. Northeast is the hemmed-in plain of the Lees Valley. To the north and northwest, the Townshend River and the Wharfedale Track wind throught the green foothills of the Oxford Forest. Beyond is the Puketeraki Range.

The poled route leads westward along the tops, soon dropping along the spur into gnarled beech forest hanging with mosses. After 50 minutes, at the first small rise on this spur (point 1130), a side-track leads down to Wharfedale Shelter. Eventually, the spur drops into dry beech forest, then a change to wetter forest clad in crown ferns marks the junction with the Wharfedale Track. 

Turn left onto the wide track and pass the turn-off to Ryde Falls just a few metres onward. The Wharfedale was originally surveyed as a road into the Lees Valley, so it provides smooth gradients. It is now popular with mountain bikers. Watch for the turn-off to the left, clearly marked just 10 minutes along the Wharfedale.

Mt Oxford Summit in Winter • By sam4724.

This easy track back to Coopers Creek passes through interesting forest dotted with podocarps (rimu, mataī, tōtara, and kahikatea) and rich with horopito. On the left, the track from Ryde Falls soon joins up again.

Eventually the track breaks out onto exotic scrub with good views to the left back up to Mount Oxford, following the true left bank of the creek back to the car park.

Walking times for the loop:

  • Mount Oxford Track to summit: 2.5 hours
  • Downhill via the View Hill to Mount Oxford Track: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Wharfedale Track section: 10 minutes
  • View Hill to Coopers Creek Link Track: 1 hour 50 minutes

If you prefer an overnight option, turn off at point 1130, beyond the summit, and drop down to Wharfedale Hut (1.5 hours). From here, you can return along the Wharfedale Track then the View Hill to Coopers Creek Link Track.

Map 
ID 2292

About this track

Added 16 September 2007 by MatthewMatthew. 2 revisions, most recently 3 July 2017 by MatthewMatthew.
5,575 views in the past year (465 per month).