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Mt Richardson, Mt Thomas Forest

Photo: Pat Barrett
Mt Thomas Forest
Total Ascent
2hr to summit
Off Ashley Gorge Road onto Glentui Bush Road and the picnic area
BW22, BW23
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Mt Richardson (gpx, yo 5 KB)
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Mt Richardson lies along the first rank of foothills to the north-west of Christchurch between Mt Oxford and Mt Thomas. The 600m climb to the 1047m summit includes a great diversity of flora and the view from the top is impressive.

Head into the forest from the car park at the picnic area. The hike up is pretty brief, though steep in parts. The summit consists of a tussock mound with a trig and sign to confirm you have actually arrived at the top and a few rocks to sit on while savouring the view, which is a good one. Stretching from the wasted flanks of the Puketeraki Range, beyond Lees Valley, over Mt Oxford, past the gaunt Torlesse Range and on south to Mt Hutt, your eye follows the curve of the ranges south and then east out over the Plains to Banks Peninsula and then north again to Mt Grey and the coastal plain near Amberley. It’s a good reward for the hike up, yet there’s more.

Just along the summit ridge, where the track continues through tussock and forest there are intimate views of Lees Valley and the Plains, glimpsed through a forest window or across a tussock clearing.