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5 Best Bike Trails in Oxford


Mountain biking in Oxford, New Zealand.

On the foothills of the Southern Alps, Oxford is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. The Canterbury town, about 55km inland from Christchurch, is a mere ride away from conservation areas featuring mountain bike trails in native forest. On top of that, the quiet backcountry roads of the View Hill area make an excellent area to explore by bike, offering tremendous views of the Canterbury Plains, the Southern Alps and the Waimakariri River. Find out where to ride with this list of bike trails in Oxford.

While you’re here, don’t miss these 10 Amazing Things to Do in Oxford or these 7 Excellent Things to Do in Rangiora.

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1. Wharfedale/Perhams Route (Grade 3)

The View Hill Domain is the start of several mountain biking routes, including the Wharfedale/Perhams Route (22km return). This dirt track features amazing views across the Canterbury Plains and toward the Port Hills in Christchurch. From the View Hill Domain, turn left into Woodstock Road the right into Ingrams Road. Turn left into Perhams Road then right onto the road toward the Wharfedale Track (see below). Note that there are two ford crossings on the trail which can be impassable after heavy rain. There are also four gates you will have to pass.

Location: View Hill Domain, Harman Gorge Road, 12km west of Oxford

2. Wharfedale Track (Grade 3)

Ride to the Wharfdale Hut in the Oxford Forest (15km one way). The track gently climbs through beech forest. When you reach the saddle, it’s mostly downhill to the Wharfdale Hut. The Townsend Track (see below) continues from here leading to Lees Valley. There are a number of hiking trails in the area too, which you can find out more about in 10 Best Walks in Oxford.

Location: Via the Wharfedale/Perhams Route (see above) or by parking at the View Hill car park – Perhams Road (16km northwest of Oxford)

3. Townshend Track (Grade 2)

Continue from the Wharfedale Track or start from Lees Valley Road. It’s slightly easier to start from the Wharfedale Track as you gentle 4WD tracks over grazed pastoral land and come out on Lees Valley Road. Note that the track has two river crossings which can be impassable after heavy rain. The Townshend Track is 8.5km one way.

Location: Via the Wharfedale Track (see above) or Lees Valley Road, 25km north of Oxford.
Ingolfson at English Wikipedia

4. Island Road Route (Grade 1)

For a cruisy bike trail in the Oxford area, try to Island Road Route starting from the View Hill Domain. Turn left onto Harman Gorge Road and right down the dirt track into Island Road. Island Road is a shingle surface for part of the way, then turn left at Sladdens Farm Road and continue on Island Road across the ford. Turn right onto Woodside Road. Follow the road to take you back to Oxford. Alternatively, turn right at Raineys Road (through another ford) or McGraths Road then onto Woodstock Road to return back to the View Hill Domain.

Location: View Hill Domain, Harman Gorge Road, 12km west of Oxford

5. Blowhard Track (grade 4)

As the name suggests, the Blowhard Track is a real challenge. Located on Mt Richardson in the stunning Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area, the Blowhard Track steeply climbs through native forest where it’s likely that you’ll need to carry your bike in a few places. The track flattens out as you reach a ridgeline and continue to the summit of Mt Richardson. Return the same way, as mountain biking is not permitted on the other tracks leaving the summit.

Location: Maori Reserve Road, 18km northeast of Oxford

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