Mt Thomas walking tracks
Be aware of slips and windfalls in the beech forests.
Due to the recent extreme heavy rainfall softening the ground, followed by strong nor' west winds, there are numerous trees over the tracks in the foothills beech forests. These are not expected to be fully cleared until after Christmas.
Please note all times below are based on starting from Wooded Gully Picnic Area.
Kereru Track via Wooded Gully/Red Pine tracks
Time: 1 hr return
Wooded Gully picnic area
From the picnic area follow Wooded Gully Track for 30 minutes, until you reach the junction of Kereru Track. Turn left to follow this track which links up with Red Pine Track.Turn left onto Red Pine Track to return to the car park. This track is suitable for family groups.
Forest Track via Wooded Gully/Summit tracks
Time: 1 hr 30 min return
From the picnic area follow Wooded Gully Track for about 45 minutes until you reach the Forest Track turn-off. Follow Forest Track though beech forest to join up with Summit Track. Return to the picnic area via the lower section of the Summit Track.
Time: 3 hr one way to summit
From the picnic area follow Summit Track up a steep ridge to the summit of Mt Thomas (1023 m) for sweeping panoramic views of the Canterbury Plains, Banks Peninsula and the Southern Alps. Come back the same way or return to the car park via either Wooded Gully or Ridge tracks, which are clearly signposted from the summit.
Important note: the plantations are privately owned – please do not light fires and take extra care in periods of extreme fire danger.
Wooded Gully Track
Time: 3 hr one way to summit
From Wooded Gully picnic area walk up Wooded Gully Track through beech forest to the saddle west of the Mt Thomas summit.
From here you have two options:
- Climb to the summit of Mt Thomas and return via Summit Track
- Follow Ridge Track back to Wooded Gully picnic area past the Bob’s Camp Bivvy turn-off.
Red Pine Track via Wooded Gully Track
Time: 3 hr return
Red Pine Track starts on the western side of Wooded Gully stream, at the campground end of Wooded Gully picnic area. The track follows beside the stream through beech forest for about 1½ hours until it joins up with Wooded Gully Track. Return to the picnic area via Wooded Gully Track.
For a shorter walk, take the Kereru Track link to reach Wooded Gully – this will give you an hour-long loop walk.
Times: 3 hr to Bob’s Camp Bivouac Route turnoff, 4 hr to Wooded Gully turnoff, 5 hr to Mt Thomas summit (all times one way)
From the western side of Wooded Gully picnic area (campground side) follow the forestry road uphill for 800 metres until a sign directs you north along a ridge; firstly, through a plantation forest, and then beech forest as you climb. The high point of this track is the Bob’s Camp Bivvy track junction. From here you can descend via Wooded Gully Track or continue on over the summit of Mt Thomas before taking Summit Track back to the picnic area.
Mt Thomas is about 60 km northwest of Christchurch by road and is reached through Rangiora and Loburn, or Oxford and the Ashley Gorge.
The major access point into the forest is Hayland Road, which turns off Birch Hill Road. Wooded Gully picnic and camping area is at the end of Hayland Road.
Plan and prepare
Infomap 260 sheet M34, Amberley covers the Mt Thomas Forest.
Always use the permanent fireplaces provided and take care when lighting fires. Do not cut live trees for firewood.
A fire permit is required for all other fires. During periods of extreme fire risk the lighting of fires is prohibited, and some areas or tracks may be closed.
Dial 111 to report fire.
Beware of wasps here in summer. Wasp populations reach high numbers from January to March each year.
It is recommended that forest users carry wasp first aid kits as a precaution. These are generally available from chemists.
back to top
Guides and commercial tourism providers