By Kaitlyn Wylie
Don’t get me wrong, Christchurch is a brilliant city, but sometimes even the city gets a bit overwhelming. The beauty of the Garden City is that it is super close to nature and fresh mountain air. Yesterday, two buddies & I adventured towards the Mountains and made a day of it.
We set off about 9am with a stop at the popular suburban Cafe Meshino in Saint Albans for a takeaway Allpress Flat White and ventured towards the small North Canterbury Village of Oxford, about 50 minutes northwest of Christchurch. Oxford is a quaint little place, home to many an artist and creative type. For other activities in Oxford, check out Emma’s Bookshop, Cafe 51 and just head towards the hills.
The Mt Oxford Track begins in the Coopers Creek carpark and is a reasonably steep climb, especially towards the top. The first part of the track is adorned with NZ’s native Beech Tree and other native bush. The second part of the climb had us battling through some serious blizzard wind, but incredible views all the way to the Port Hills. In the last 200m to the Summit we were trekking through scattered snow and all up it took about 2.5 hours to reach the top. It was 100% worth it. Panoramic views from the Southern Alps and valley, to the sea and the whole of the City. The picnic of Roast Chicken and Hummus Wraps tasted much better 1364m above sea level.
(Definitely take a beanie and some gloves however). The downhill was rugged, but worth it, and we got back to the car 4 and a half hours later.
To make an absolute day of it, we rewarded our efforts with a craft beer at Oxford’s Black Beech Wine Bar on the main road. This place is decked out with leather couches, cowhide rugs and an impressive pizza menu.
Other notable Mountains worth climbing and within day trip range are; Mt Thomas, Castle Hill, Mt Somers Track, the Packhorse track & for a bit longer drive – Arthur’s Pass National Park.