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Ryde Falls, Oxford Forest Park

Crossing Coopers Creek below the falls Photo: Andrew Lowton
Oxford Forest Park
6.5km to the falls
5-6hr return
Take Woodside Road from SH72, at the western end of Oxford. After 8km, turn right on Mountain Road to reach Coopers Creek car park
Notes & Map
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GPX File
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Oxford Forest Conservation Area covers 11,350ha and is a remnant of the great beech and podocarp forests that once covered northern Canterbury.

From the car park, the track forks immediately, with an enticing route heading off to the summit of Mt Oxford. However, he track to Ryde Falls meanders beside Coopers Creek West Branch before heading steadily up through the forest.

At a stile, the route doglegs sharply to the left and rises steeply, through a stand of fir trees, to a rocky outcrop, affording stunning views of (in winter) snow-covered hills to the north.

Now, far above the river, the track follows a ridge back into a forest of beech trees and, after periods of rain, long stretches of boggy terrain. Shortly, a viewpoint of Mt Oxford is reached. From here, the rushing water of Coopers Creek West Branch can be heard and the track dives steeply down to a junction with the Link Track.

A short side track leads to signed examples of totara, rimu (red pine) and matai (black pine) trees, the latter apparently becoming rare on the South Island.

A couple of very long and steep zigzags lead down to a stream crossing and a rude climb back up the other side.

A sign at a junction with the Korimako Track informs the falls are 500m further along the track.

Finally, a steep slope lead down to the fast-flowing creek, which must be crossed. There is a primitive campground with a pit toilet here.

A short path then leads to the base of Ryde Falls, where the river tumbles through the forest in several tiers, the bottom being a beautiful curtain of white.