• Mt Thomas

    A Loop Walk in North Canterbury

Mount Thomas Walk in North Canterbury

A steep but rewarding climb to the top of Mount Thomas (1,023m) in North Canterbury, Waimakariri District, with an option to loop back to the car via a gully or along a ridge. The more adventurous could add an extra loop, with a stay at Bob’s Camp Bivouac and/or Pinchgut Hut.

After a short gravel drive (no 4WD required) from the main road, and from a carpark at the Wooded Gully Campsite (with toilet facilities, a sink, picnic tables, interesting places for the kids to explore, lots of signposts, and an information board with a map of the area), the Mt Thomas walk is a steep, unrelenting, and not entirely interesting 90 minute climb to the summit.

Once at the summit, you’re rewarded with a highly enjoyable walk along a saddle with views on either side. Not long after delving back into forest, a well sign-posted intersection gives you two options to complete the loop back to the car.

Quick Stats

  • Mt Thomas, 1023m
  • Loop via Ridge:
    11.6km, 4-5h
  • Loop via Wooded Gully:
    9.8km, 3h
  • Campsite & Toilets at Carpark
  • 50 mins N of Christchurch
  • Set your GPS:
    Wooded Gully Campsite

Mt Thomas Loop via Wooded Gully Track

After the 90 minute climb to Mt Thomas up the Summit Track, cross the saddle, start the descent into the forest, and turn left at the sign-posted intersection for the Wooded Gull Track.

This will take you down through a small network of tracks that decline steeply down the gully through dense forest. This route is the most direct and sees you clambering over a few rocks and plenty of roots. There are some sharp and slippery turns with steep drops, so care is required.

Important note: as you’ll see in some of the photos below, the huge rain storm that we saw in winter 2021 has made the Wooded Gully and Red Pine Tracks impassable, with flood damage washing away the (fairly recently renovated) tracks and laying waste to trees alongside the stream. Check out this page of the DOC website for alert updates.

Mt Thomas Loop via Ridge Track

Completing the Summit Track, crossing the saddle, and then heading straight on at the intersection with the Wooded Gully Track – following the sign for Bob’s Bivvy – will take you on another short climb up to another summit with views overlooking the route to Bob’s Bivouac and, eventually, Pinchgut Hut. This is a nice place to take a break, watching wisps of cloud amongst the hills below.

From there, follow the signs to the Ridge Track that will eventually take you back to the carpark. For the most part, it’s a much softer descent than the Wooded Gully Track, although it’s not without its own short, rocky scrambles. While it is a ridge, the views aren’t much to write home about as you’ll largely be walking through forest.

At time of writing, you’ll bear witness to some of the devestation that the winter storms of 2021 have dealt to the path, trees and bush.

Photos around Mt Thomas

A few photos taken around the Mt Thomas Summit and Ridge Tracks.

Looking north from the intersection of the Ridge Track and the track to Bob's Bivvy

Mark looking across to the saddle from the Summit Track
Hills looking north from the Mt Thomas summit
Views from the saddle of Mt Thomas
Islands in the clouds. Taken on the saddle.
Flood damaged plants on the Ridge Track
Descending through the clouds on the Ridge Track

Useful Photos

These photos are taken more to demonstrate the track itself, along with intersections, signage, and the car parking area.

Mt Thomas Summit
A track along the saddle from Mt Thomas
Looking back along the saddle to the summit
Wooded Gully Campsite toilets, sink, and paystation
Gate at the base of the Summit Track (walkers welcome unless otherwise signed)
Info board and map at the car park
DOC signs at the base of the Red Pine to Wooded Gully track
DOC Sign at Wooded Gully & Ridge Track Intersection
DOC sign at the intersection of Ridge Track and the loop to Pinchgut Hut
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Looking north from the intersection of the Ridge Track and the track to Bob's Bivvy

Mount Thomas Walk in North Canterbury

A steep but rewarding climb to the top of Mount Thomas (1,023m), North Canterbury, with an option to loop back via a gully or along a ridge.
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