Mt Thomas Conservation Area

Kereru Track, Forest Track, Red Pine Track & Wooded Gully Track

Location: Access for all walks is from the Wooded Gully camping and picnic area which is located at the end of Hayland Road. Hayland Road is reached off the Oxford to Loburn Road, near to the Garry River.
Intensity: Suitable for people of all abilities and fitness
Facilities: Toilets, dogs permitted, picnic friendly, camping
Important Information: Lighting of fires is prohibited during periods of extreme fire risk, and some areas or tracks may be closed.
Description of Walks: Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area is an excellent area for day trips, with two picturesque picnic areas and several walking tracks around the two main summits, Mt Thomas (1023m) and Mt Richardson (1047m). Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area covers 10,800 hectares, between the Ashley and Okuku Rivers, and contains extensive exotic plantations, which in the case of Mt Thomas itself extend right to the summit. From the summits there are views over the Canterbury Plains to Pegasus Bay, into the Lees Valley and the upper Okuku River.

Detailed panels are located at the start of each track or a copy of the Foothills forests brochure is available from the Department of Conservation or Kaiapoi i-SITE Visitor Centre.

Kereru Track via Wooded Gully/Red Pine Track

Duration: 1 hour
Route: 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.
Intensity: Suitable for people of all abilities and fitness

Forest Track via Wooded Gully/Summit Tracks

Duration: 2 hours return
Route: 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.
Intensity: Suitable for people of all abilities and fitness

Red Pine Track via Wooded Gully Track

Duration: 3 hours return
Route: 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.
Intensity: Suitable for people of all abilities and fitness

Wooded Gully Track

Duration: 3 hr one way to summit
Route: 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:

Intensity: Suitable for people of all abilities and fitness

Summit Track – to Mt Thomas Summit

Duration: 3 hours one way to summit
Route: From the picnic area follow the 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.
Intensity: Suitable for people with moderate fitness and abilities
Important Information: the plantations are privately owned – please do not light fires and take extra care in periods of extreme fire danger.

Ridge Track – to Mt Thomas Summit

Duration: 3 hr to Bob’s Camp Bivouac Route turnoff, 4 hr to Wooded Gully turnoff, 5 hr to Mt Thomas summit (all the times are one way)
Route: 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.
Intensity: Suitable for people with moderate fitness and abilities

Pinchgut Track - Pinchgut Hut via Okuku River

Duration: 5 hours one way
Location: Access this track from the Loburn – Whiterock Road, left into Taaffes Glen Road and park your car near Fox Creek.
Route: Walk along the gravel road for a further 300 metres then take a track that drops down to Okuku River. Cross Okuku River, picking up a marked track leading to a clearing. Turn right and follow another short section of marked track. Turn right onto a vehicle track, following it for 400 metres, then left onto a benched track above Okuku River. Two large landslips are bypassed by walking along the edge of the river. Beyond Whare Stream the track climbs steeply, then sidles along the hillside to Pinchgut Hut.
Intensity: Suitable for people with moderate fitness and abilities
Important Information: If you intend to stay, you will need to buy your hut ticket before setting out from the Department of Conservation or Kaiapoi i-SITE Visitor Centre.