Showing posts with label Ryde Falls Campsite. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ryde Falls Campsite. Show all posts

Monday, 29 April 2013

Ryde Falls: Mt Oxford Forest Park: November 2012

An overnight camp at Ryde Falls, Mt Oxford Forest Park

In late November I went for an overnight tramp to Ryde Falls, in Mt Oxford Forest Park. There is not a hut near the falls, so I took my tent and pitched up in a clear space provided. It is a 2.5-3 hour trip each way, following a track through regenerating bush and scrub.

Ryde Falls, Mt Oxford Forest Park

 I started out at the car park at the end of Mountain View Road and started walking in. 

Tramping the Ryde Falls Track, Mt Oxford Forest

The area around Mt Oxford was once heavily forested, timber felling in the area decimated the native bush until only remnants remain in steep inaccessible spots. There are a network of tracks leading towards Mt Oxford, Wharefdale Hut and the Black Hill range.

DOC sign, start of the Ryde Falls Track, Coopers Creek entrance
There is quite a big car park at the beginning of the track. This photo was taken on the Sunday morning, a lot of people do the track as a day walk, I passed numerous people on both days.

Ryde Falls car park at Coopers Creek
You start on river flats and gradually ascend into exotic and native forest. The track is clear and easy to follow for its whole length, reflecting its front country location.

Ryde Falls Track: Ascending through broken scrub, Mt Oxford Forest

Mt Oxford and Coopers Creek area, Mt Oxford Forest

Looking down on Coopers Creek and the Mt Oxford Massif
The track leads to both Ryde Falls and the Wharfedale track, there is a turn off point about an hour and a half after starting out. As you can see the travelling is easy, it is well maintained and the gradient is relatively flat. I noticed a lot of mountain bike wheel tracks, this is not an official mountain bike track but that obviously doesn't stop anyone.

Descending the Ryde Falls track towards the Falls

Ryde Falls Track, travelling along the first rideline

Mt Oxford Forest: junction of Wharfedale/Ryde Falls track

The track to Ryde Falls descending to Coopers Creek

Area of old growth forest, Ryde Falls Track, Mt Oxford Forest

There was an old tramway for moving the timber out of the area, this is mostly overgrown now but there is an option to explore the area near these information panels. The Wharfedale Track turn off is close to this point, it is all down hill to Ryde Falls from this point.

Info board at site of old tramway, Coopers Creek, Mt Oxford Forest

Descending towards Ryde Falls on the Ryde Falls Track

Ryde Falls Track: just before the descent to Ryde Falls

You pop out at the bottom of the Ryde Falls Track right on Coopers Creek, a quick stream crossing and you are at the Ryde Falls camp-site. In the photo below the Falls are behind me, end of the track back to Mountain View Road is on the right.

View down Coopers Creek from the end of the Ryde Falls Track

When you reach the bottom of the valley you are surrounded by a suprisingly thick area of bush, it is really quite beautiful. There is a small amenity area with cut up logs for seats, a concrete fire pit and flat camping area next to the river. You follow this sign up a side stream to visit the Falls.

Visiting Ryde Falls from the campsite

 Ryde Falls have seven steps, the flow at the time was very low as it has been so hot and dry in Canterbury for the previous month. There is always water flowing just not a lot at certain times of he year

Next to Ryde Falls camp-site, Mt Oxford Forest

The area immediately in front of the Falls is sand fly hell, when I stopped to take these photos about a thousand of the sods attacked me at once.

Be warned, cover up before you come down to the falls.

Ryde Falls in Oxford Forest Park

View of Ryde Falls, Mt Oxford Forest
The camping area doesn't look very promising, but it was actually very nice, with the dark forest, the sound of the river/wind and a cosy fire to keep you company. There are sites for about 4 tents, a couple of small fire pits and a toilet, water is from the stream right next to the camp-site.

I had my lunch here and after the day trippers had left set up my tent, had dinner and settled down next to a fire with a brew before turning in early.


Camp site near Ryde Falls, Mt Oxford Forest

Coopers Creek passes right in front of the camp-site, the water is potable as there are no farms, forestry or industries upstream but I would still treat it before drinking the water. There is a nice shallow pool about 50 meters downstream from the camp-site.

View upstream of Coopers Creek, this is next to the camp-site

Here I am sitting in the picnic area, it is on a river terrace about 10-20 feet up from the river. There are a lot less sand flies near the camp-site, they must all be hanging out with their buddies up near the falls. There were two other groups here when I arrived all having lunch after the trek in.

Jon at Ryde Falls camp-site, Mt Oxford Forest, Canterbury foothills

Tent set up in the small camp site at Ryde Falls, Mt Oxford Forest

My small campfire at Ryde Falls for some night ambience

There isn't a lot of firewood in the immediate area, but if you go down river there is a lot more in the forest along Coopers Creek. I managed to find enough and just snapped it over rocks so it would fit in the existing firepit.

Home via the Korimako, Wharfedale and Connector Tracks

The next day, I was up early, packed up, had breakfast and headed back out to the car park. On the way back I followed the Korimako Track up to the Wharfedale Track, there were a lot of ferns growing alongside this trail, a fire a couple of years ago cleared away the competition.

Map: The relationship between the Korimako, Link and Ryde Falls Tracks

Lots of ferns on the Korimako Track, Oxford Forest Park
 There were several more open areas where the ferns predominated.

On Korimako Track: ascending track towards Wharfedale track, Mt Oxford Forest

Korimako Track: Ascending track towards Wharfedale track, Mt Oxford Forest

When you get to the Wharfedale Track, you travel along for 10-15 minutes and then join the Link Track to get back to the Coopers Creek/Mountain Road car park.

On the Wharfedale Track heading for the Link Track to Coopers Creek

Track sign at the Wharfedale Track - Link Track junction

On the Link Track heading back to Coopers Creek, Mt Oxford Forest

I passed some examples of windfall on the track heading back to the car park. This beast was at least 2-3 times taller than me (I'm 6'3") I'm glad I wasn't in the forest when that wind storm came through. There was a whole area of windfall and all of the dead trees were the same size. 

Big Wind!!!

Massive windfallen tree, Connector Track, Coopers Creek

All in all an excellent trip, next time I will do it as a day trip as the whole trek could be done in about 5 hours.