There are plenty of activities in the Oxford area with something to suit everyone - from bush walks, trout fishing and kayaking to winery tours, museums and scenic drives.
About The Area
The mountain valleys and ridgelines of Canterbury's foothill forests offer a unique opportunity to enjoy forest and alpine environments. Their location at the foot of the Southern Alps is within an hours drive from Christchurch. These areas are managed by the Department of Conservation for public use and enjoyment and for the preservation of their natural values. They are remnants of the native vegetation that once existed throughout the region. Birdlife to be seen and heard in the forest area include native species like fantail, bellbird, silvereye, tomtit, grey warbler, brown creeper, wood pigeon and rifleman. Introduced species include chaffinch, red poll, blackbird and thrush.
Visit the district website www.visitwaimakariri.co.nz for information on the Waimakariri District
Ashley Gorge River - Swimming / Water Fun
The Ashley River is a great swimming area for all, there are some very shallow spots for littlies and some great swimming holes and diving spots for the older children. Bring your tube and glide down the flowing clear water. Our water is tested regularly by Environment Canterbury.
At the top end of the Birch Flat picnic area there is a short walk to a lookout up the Gorge. Dont forget to check out the Giants Walk while you are up there and discover the giant Redwoods. Short walks in and around Oxford, 6 short kiwi walks approximately 1 hour each. Walk across the bridge and up the steps on the LHS and enjoy a 45 minute easy loop track in the bush on the other side of the river.
Recreational opportunities range from interesting short walks to scenic waterfalls, challenging tramping routes along exposed mountain tops, as well as kayaking, rafting and mountain biking.
- Glentui Nature Trail
- Glentui Waterfall Track
- Richardson Track
- Blowhard Track
- Bypass Track
- Blowhard Track
- Wharfdale Track
- Ashley River from middle bridge on Lees Valley Road to campground. e see camp office)
- Class III+ 4-120 cumecs, Class IV >120cumecs, Experienced kayakers.
- 12.5 km length, time 2-5 hours, shuttle available from campground
- See the book "Whitewater River Running in NZ" by Graham Egarr
- Check the flow at the Gorge on www.ecan.govt.nz
- Ashley River from middle bridge on Lees Valley Road to campground
- Check the river flows on www.ecan.govt.nz
- Species: Chinook salmon, rainbow trout and brown trout.
- Fishing Methods: Above bridge - artificial flyfishing, spinning, Below bridge - all authorised methods
- Season Duration: Above bridge - 1 Oct - 30 April, Below bridge - All year.
- Limit Bags: Above bridge - 1 trout, max size less than 350mm, Below bridge - 2 trout
- Bait fishing for trout only 1 Oct - 30 April The Ashley River. Photo Copyright Jim Helsel
- A fishing licence is required and must be produced.
- See www.fishandgame.org.nz North Canterbury region - Ph 03 366 9191
- Trout Quest Canterbury Fishing Tours - Ph 03 312 4902
- Canterbury High Country Fishing Tours - Ph 03 312 3379
- See www.fishandgame.org.nz North Canterbury region
- The Mt Thomas Recreation Hunting Area is an open hunting zone. A permit is required to hunt in this area. Permits available from the Christchurch Department of Conservation office - Ph 03 3713706 Jet Boating
- Waimakariri Gorge Jet - Ph 03 313 6490 Operate from Springfield, approx 20 mins from Ashley Gorge Holiday Park.
- Waimakariri Gorge Golf Club
- Kowhai Farm Horse Riding School - Ph 03 312 4309
- Palmdale Llamas - Ph 03 312 1737
- 6 Short walks in and around Oxford. Approximately 1 hour each.
Arts, Crafts and Museums
There are a variety of arts and crafts made locally. Local museum showcases Oxford of yesteryear.
- Oxford Cottage Craft
- Farmers Market (every Sunday)
- Oxford Museum
- Cust Museum
- Away With The Fairies Cust
- Darling We've Had That For Ages
Gardens and Nurseries
Interesting selection of gardens and nurseries in the area with specialist areas like herbs, unusual herbs and perennials, lavender and lavender products, organics, potager. Many have display gardens to view.
- The Colour Purple
- Ashley Gorge Nursery
- Roses at Cust
- Ribblesdale Gardens
- The Famous Sheffield Pie shop & cafe
- Cruisy Days Diner
- Oakleigh Cottage
- Oxford Pharmacy & Gifts
- Oxford Craft Shopfood
- New Fresh Choice Supermarket
Food and Beverage
Delicious options from licenced restaurants, bars, café style takeaways and wineries to tempt the taste buds.
- Village Foods Cafe, Bakery and Takeaways
- Oxford Workingmen's Club
- Cafe 51
- Black Beech Wine & Pizza Bar
- West Oxford Hotel
- Route 72 at Cust
- Super Liquor
- Heritage Trails to follow around the Waimakariri District
- Historic Trails to follow around Oxford, Carlton and Bennett's Area
- Lees Valley Experience