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10 Best Walks in Oxford

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Walking & Hiking TRails in Oxford, New Zealand.

Nestled below the foothills of the Southern Alps, Oxford is fast becoming a popular destination for keen hikers and outdoors enthusiasts! It’s all about hiking and mountain biking here (see 5 Best Bike Trails in Oxford), so check out what are the best walks in Oxford to tackle right here!

Oxford is a small town in the Canterbury region, 55km inland from Christchurch. While it holds a number of short walks in the town, it’s the Oxford Forest, Mt Thomas Forest, Glentui and Mt Richardson that gets us excited to lace up our hiking boots and hit the trails – all of which are within 25km of the town. Plus, you’ll struggle to get bored with these 10 Amazing Things to Do in Oxford or these 7 Excellent Things to Do in Rangiora.

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1. Mears Track (20-minute loop or 2 hours return)

Walk through the beautiful native forest close to Oxford town on the Mears Track. The track itself, on Crallans Drain Road, is an easy 20-minute walk with interpretation panels labelling native plants seen along the way. The walk also features a lookout. To make a 2-hour walk, start from Main Street, turn right onto Mill Road, left onto Bush Road then right onto Crallans Drain Road.

Location: Crallans Drain Road
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2. Oxford Millenium Lookout Walk (1-hour return)

There are several walks starting from Pearson Park, but if you only have time to tackle one, make it the Oxford Millenium Lookout Walk. This walk goes through the town and up the foothills where the top reveals excellent views of the Canterbury Plains and out to the Port Hills in Christchurch. From Pearson Park, walk through Dohrmans Road then right onto Bay Road. Cross over the Bay Road and Church Street intersection and follow the track up the hill to the lookout.

Location: Bay Road
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3. Ryde Falls (3 hours one way or 2 hours one way)

There are two walks to this stunning five-tier waterfall in the Oxford Forest Conservation Area. From the Coopers Creek car park, it’s a 3-hour one-way walk, first along farmland with expansive countryside views then into beech forest and to the waterfall. From the View Hill car park, it’s a 1-2 hour one-way walk immediately into the forest and Coopers Creek where you’ll see the waterfall.

Location: Coopers Creek car park – Mountain Road (10km northwest of Oxford), View Hill car park – Perhams Road (16km northwest of Oxford)
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4. Mt Oxford Track (4 hours one way)

This walk to the 1,364m summit of Mt Oxford can either be done from Coopers Creek car park or View Hill car park, both taking 4 hours one-way. This day hike features lush beech forest, open tussock grasslands and marvellous views of the Canterbury Plains and Lees Valley.

Location: Coopers Creek car park – Mountain Road (10km northwest of Oxford), View Hill car park – Perhams Road (16km northwest of Oxford)
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5. Wharfedale Track (5 hours one way)

Walk or mountain bike to the Wharfdale Hut in the Oxford Forest. The track gently climbs through beech forest until you reach a saddle. Then it’s mostly downhill to the Wharfdale Hut nearby the Dobson Stream. You can stay in the hut for a small fee. There is another track continuing from here, the Townsend Track, leading to Lees Valley (2h30min one way).

Location: View Hill car park – Perhams Road (16km northwest of Oxford)
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6. Black Hill Track (3 hours one way)

Another hut to walk to in the Oxford Forest Conservation Area, the Black Hill Hut can be reached from the View Hill car park or from the Townsend Track (see above) to make an overnight hike. From the View Hill car park, the Black Hill Track branches off the Wharfedale Track and climbs steeply onto a ridge between Foster and Dobson streams.

Location: View Hill car park – Perhams Road (16km northwest of Oxford)
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7. Kereru Track (1-hour loop)

Another fantastic wilderness area to explore near Oxford is the Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area. Here, there are a few short walks from the Wooded Gully camping and picnic area. The Kereru Track is suitable for all ages starting along the Wooded Gully Track. Then take the Kereru Track and return to the car park along the Red Pine Track.

Location: Hayland Road, 21km northeast of Oxford
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8. Mt Thomas Summit Track (2 hours one way)

For more wonderful views of the Canterbury Plains, Banks Peninsula and the Southern Alps, hike to the summit of Mt Thomas. The track steeply follows a ridge to the summit. You can return the same way or via the Wooded Gully or Ridge Tracks, both leading back to the picnic area where you started.

Location: Hayland Road, 21km northeast of Oxford
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9. Glentui Loop Track (1-hour loop)

An easy walk in the stunning Mt Thomas Forest Park, the Glentui Loop Track starts from a picnic area and follows a trail to a bridge over the Glentui River and the steeply up a ridge to join the Bypass Track. Follow the Bypass Track to the Richardson Track which will return you back to the picnic area.

Location: Glentui Bush Road, 15km north of Oxford
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10. Mt Richardson Track (3 hours one way)

For an attractive forest walk and stunning views of the Puketeraki Range and Lees Valley, take the Mt Richardson Track. This 3-hour track is a relatively steep track climbing through tawhai forest and then along tussock grasslands until you reach the summit at 1,047m.

Location: Glentui Bush Road, 15km north of Oxford
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