Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ

A pleasant loop through beech (tawhai) forest to the top of Mt Richardson (1047m), where there are good views over the Puketeraki Range and other nearby peaks.

Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area

Mt Richardson (1047m) is one of four modestly sized mountains that can be climbed, about one hour’s drive north-west of Christchurch. The others are Mt Oxford (which we’ve done), and Mounts Thomas and Grey to the east. It’s a pleasant if not spectacular walk through mostly beech (tawhai) forest, with just a bit of tussock grass and Dracophyllum scrub on the tops. The views from the summit include the Puketeraki Range rising front and centre above the Lees Valley, Mt Oxford, and further away the the Torlesse Range.

Track Notes

Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area
An obvious track the whole way, with junctions sign posted. Mostly in forest with some open ground at the summit and along the Blowhard Track.

A straightforward walk that is tracked and signposted the whole way. We walked it clockwise. Note that it was very muddy in places when we did it in winter after a period of fairly wet weather. Note also that the area has a lot of wasps in summer, and you’ll see the yellow wasp poison stations attached to trees along the tracks. More info on the DOC website.

Mt Richardson Loop: The Scenery

Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area
Glentui Falls. This is a very short side trip (a partial loop) near the start of the Richardson Track.
Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area
Ascending through beech forest.
Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area
Canterbury has a lot of these tall thin darkened beech trees. They are new to me as they don’t appear to have them around Queenstown, which is where I had previously done my walking.
Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area
Although I very much like my grand vistas, I also like the detail of colours and textures you get in a forest.
Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area
Just a little snow on top.
Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area
A wide panorama of the Puketeraki Range viewed from the summit of Mt Richardson (1047m).
Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area
Looking towards the Puketeraki Range and Lees Valley from the summit of Mt Richardson (1047m).
Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area
Mt Oxford on the left, and the Torlesse Range to the right at back.
Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area
Back into beech forest for a while on the Blowhard Track.
Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area
I find it hard to capture to essence of beech forest, so I’m often trying something new. This shot hasn’t achieved that essence, but it’s something a bit different.
Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area
The last of the views west on the Blowhard Track.
Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area
More beech forest.
Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area
Looking north. You can see the Blowhard Track continues in the open on the broad centre right.
Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area
Looking over the Canterbury Plains towards Christchurch and the Port Hills.
Mt Richardson Loop, Mount Thomas Conservation Area
Back into beech forest for the descent.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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