Mt Thomas Circuit, Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Park, Canterbury NZ

A quick climb to the summit of Mt Thomas (1036m) for views over the Canterbury Plains & nearby hills, then a pleasant return through native forest.

Mt Thomas Circuit, Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ

Mt Thomas (1036m) is one of four smaller mountains less than an hour’s drive to the north-west of Christchurch, all of which have tracks to the summit and circuit options. The others are Mt Oxford, Mt Richardson, and Mt Grey. The walk up Mt Thomas was probably the least inspiring, however the loop walk we did was the shortest and hence was a good option when we wanted to get in a half day’s walk and be back in town for early afternoon. To be fair the best views were probably those to the west which were obscured by cloud on the day we did this walk. For me the most scenic section was the return leg from the summit along a broad ridge and then down through a valley of native forest on the Wooded Gully Track. Track notes at the end.

Mt Thomas Circuit: The Scenery

Mt Thomas Circuit, Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ
A section of cleared pines early on in the walk.
Mt Thomas Circuit, Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ
Much of the summit track is through pine plantations, although the upper sections have native plants lining the track.
Mt Thomas Circuit, Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ
The view north from the summit of Mt Thomas (1036m).
Mt Thomas Circuit, Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ
Looking north-east from the summit. Tough lighting for photography.
Mt Thomas Circuit, Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ
A panorama of mountains to the north, taken on the summit.
Mt Thomas Circuit, Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ
A hazy zoomed-in panorama of the Canterbury Plains, taken on the summit.
Mt Thomas Circuit, Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ
A bit of zoom to capture misty hills to the north.
Mt Thomas Circuit, Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ
On the ridge from the summit.

Mt Thomas Circuit, Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ

Mt Thomas Circuit, Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ
Nice beech forest, or almost woodland, at the start of the Wooded Gully Track.
Mt Thomas Circuit, Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ
We had lunch at this landslide.

Mt Thomas Circuit, Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ Mt Thomas Circuit, Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ

Mt Thomas Circuit, Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ
The Wooded Gully Track passes through a lush forested gully. Hence the name.
Mt Thomas Circuit, Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ
Pleasant native forest towards the end of the Wooded Gully Track. I think they call this type of forest podocarp forest. It was mostly beech forest higher up.

Track Notes

Mt Thomas Circuit, Mt Thomas Forest Conservation Area, Canterbury NZ
On a marked track the whole way. We walked anti-clockwise. As you can see there are a few other options to choose from in the area.

We walked anti-clockwise and it’s a marked track the whole way. It’s reasonably steep along the summit track to the summit, but easy enough walking. It’s then along the broad ridge and down into the valley through lush native forest. Just a half day walk.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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