Tramping in the New Zealand backcountry: NZ Bush Adventures: Mt Thomas: 6 April
Mt Thomas Forest area is about 60 km from Christchurch. The summit track goes up a steep ridge to the summit of Mt Thomas, and takes approximately 3. With the contemplation of a steepish climb up Mt Thomas our keen on Mont Blanc chanced to meet another group from the Italian side and he had tramp up Wooded Gully to the top then descend via the Summit Track. Adjoining Tracks: From the Saddle, climb to summit of Mt Thomas and return via Summit Track, or follow the Ridge Track back to Wooded Gully picnic area.
Mt Thomas Forest Walk
We knew though that more climbing was ahead but at least there were dips and flattish parts to ease the legs. It was great to be back amongst quite dense beech saplings where small clearings had been created when larger trees had succumbed to nature probably recent snow and gravity. Fortunately we did not have to contend with wasps, as it was too early in their season. Breaking out of the tree line into open country, we were met with a breezy northerly laced with rain and cloud-limited views of the surrounding snowy Puketeraki Range and the patchwork plains.
A noticeable feature of beech forests is the black sponge-like covering on the trunks. This is a sooty mould fungus caused by the honey dew association — beech scale insects which play a vital role in the food supply for a range of native bird and insect species.
This native insect lives in the bark of beech trees drawing off the sap. If you chance to sample these little drips they are very sweet so you can see the attraction, especially for bees and wasps.
Happy trampers at the Summit of Mt Thomas After a brief consultation about lunch we followed the Alternatives in striving for the top. Here we all hunkered down among the trees, sheltering from the elements and keeping our sandwiches dry. With lunch over and the rain not letting up, the Alternative group hastily departed down the plunging canopied avenue of the Summit track through the mature pine forest.OC & Aloha vs Summit 4x400m Relay Girls
The rest of us re-grouped and decided to tough out the conditions and complete the circuit we had started. I had planned to stop here for lunch but the strong cold wind gusts put paid to that idea.
Pegasus Bay and Banks Peninsula from Mt Thomas summit View south from Mt Thomas Mt Thomas trig I was mildly worried about the dark cloud on the horizon but luckily the rain did not start until I was on my home down the access road so no need for the wet weather gears.
View of incoming Nor'Westerly storm from Mt Thomas It is difficult to see in the photos but it was really windy with strong, cold wind gusts blowing across the summit: I did not dally for long as it started to get cold. It is steep but easy travel Start of Summit Track, Mt Thomas View back towards saddle on ridge from Mt Thomas Summit Track The view below is of the ridge I had climbed up earlier in the day, the Wooded Gully Track gradually climbs along the ridge before crossing to the other side of the gully and rising steeply to the saddle.
Mt Thomas via Ridge Track, Oxford, Canterbury - Trail Directory - Wild Things
Crackers, tuna, snacks and water Forest near my lunch spot on Mt Thomas The track down through the exotic plantation is very nice, although steep. I passed 12 people making their way up the slope, this is obviously the preferred way to the summit.
There was a lot more bird life in the exotic forest than in the native area's. I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of the native and exotic forest, it is almost two tramps in one. Wooded Gully picnic area is about 65 km north-west of Christchurch and is reached either from Oxford or Loburn. From Loburn, take the signposted road to Oxford for about 16 km to the Hayland Road turn-off.