Ryde Falls
Image: Harley James © 

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The various access points to Oxford Forest are linked by a series of walking tracks, including the Wharfedale track which is also a mountain bike track.

Track overview

Walking and tramping

Easy: Walking track

Mountain biking

Intermediate: Grade 3

Dog access

Dogs allowed. Keep dog under control at all times.

About this track


Coopers Creek to Ryde Falls Track

Time:  2 hr 30 min one way

This well formed track initially crosses cleared private land with views of the plains and surrounding hills. It enters the beech forest and finally descends to Coopers Creek to view the five tier Ryde Falls. Return the same way

Notes: No dogs allowed on private land and walkers must keep to the track. “Rydes Tramway” route is not maintained and is overgrown. 

Wharfedale Track

Time: 4 hr 30 min one way

Wharfedale Track was formed to open up Lees Valley. Work began in 1879 and in seven years £4,537 (about $500,000 equivalent today) had been spent before it was abandoned as a possible road.

This long, easy graded track was used as a stock route in the 1890s and now provides access for trampers. It is also popular with mountain bikers.

The Wharfedale Hut is sited on the true right of Dobson Stream.

Mountain biking

Through the forest the track surface provides technical riding over roots and rocks and bikes need to be carried over a few small creeks, but the majority is easily ridden.

A further 2 km from the hut, a bridge crosses Townsend River and a 4WD track leads through farmland to Lees Valley Road (8.5 km). Note: This 4WD track crosses Townsend River twice and may be impassable if river levels are high.

This is a shared-use track. Follow the mountain bikers code: respect others, respect the rules, respect the track.

Wharfedale Hut

Wharfedale Hut

Category: Standard
Facilities: 8 bunk beds, heating, mattresses
Bookings not required - first come, first served

Wharfedale Hut to Lees Valley

Time: 2 hr 30 min one way

This is an extension of the WharfedaleTrack. It crosses tussock flats, mostly on a four wheel drive track, returning to Lees Valley Road 1.5 km north of the Ashley River/Rakahuri bridge.

If you wish to drive vehicles over this section of track you must contact Mt Pember Station.

An alternative route exists between Shifton and Storm streams (route 5). It is not well marked but avoids the need to cross the Townshend River in times of high river levels.

View Hill to Ryde Falls Track

Time: 2 hr one way

Turn off the Wharfedale Track about 20 minutes into the forest from the car park. Descend to Coopers Creek to view Ryde Falls.

View Hill to Coopers Creek Track

Time: 2 hr 30 min - 3 hr one way

To take this link track turn off  Wharfedale Track about 10 minutes into the forest from the car park and join Ryde Falls Track. Follow this track east to Coopers Creek car park.

Getting there

Approach Oxford from Christchurch via the northern motorway (SH1) then westward on Tram Road or SH72.

Coopers Creek car park

At the western end of Oxford, take Woodside Road. 7 km northwest turn right onto Mountain Road to the Coopers Creek car park.

View Hill car park

From Oxford drive west on State Highway 72 for about 3 km, then turn off along Woodstock Road. After about 10 km turn right up Ingrams Road which turns left into Perhmas Road. An AA signpost indicates the turn-off to the start of the Wharfedale Track where the View Hill car park is located. In times of heavy rain two fords on Perhams Road may become impassable.

Lees Valley

About 6 km north of Oxford, on Ashley Gorge Road is the Lees Valley access. At Mt Pember Station, 1.5 km from the Lees Valley Bridge, a DOC signpost on the left denotes a very rough four-wheel drive track that runs next to the Townshend River and up to Townshend Hut.

The key for the locked gate is obtainable from Mt Pember Station only if a week’s notice is given. Mt Pember Station email is themuster@grasslands-llc.com.

Know before you go


NZTopo50 maps BW21 (Springfield) and BW22 (Oxford) cover the Oxford Forest area.


Always take care when lighting fires and use the permanent fireplaces provided. A fire permit is required for all campfires where permanent fireplaces are not used.

During periods of extreme fire risk the lighting of fires and barbecues is prohibited, and some areas or tracks may be closed. Dial 111 in case of fire emergency.


Wasp numbers are high from January through to March each year. It is recommended that forest users carry wasp first aid kits as a precaution. These are generally available from chemists.


Rangiora Office
Phone:   +64 3 313 0820
Address:   32 River Road
Rangiora 7400
Email:   waimakariri@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
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