Last Updated: 2nd Oct 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done

Mt Thomas Direct!

Oxford, Canterbury

Submitted by Lisa Ainley

Last Updated: 2nd Oct 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 21

Gnarl Factor: 67








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back


Dog Friendly

Native bush

Plantation/exotic forest

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +19.7%

Average Downhill Gradient: -19.6%


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Estimated Times to Run







Start at the DOC sign and cross the grassy area. Do not head straight up Wooded Gully, instead take the single track to the right. This may be a bit muddy depending on time of the year. Cross a stile and then the track will veer left and head up hill.

A short climb up and you come out to a 4WD road. (If you choose to turn left here this will eventually lead you back to Wooded Gully and back to the carpark). Cross over this road and continue straight up. At the time of writing this area is open as it has been logged. So as you climb, don't forget to stop and turn around and take in the wonderful views of the Canterbury Plains.

You will continue on into the pine forest and keep on climbing and climbing and climbing. There is a small respite of a teeny down hill for a matter of metres but then straight away you are back climbing. The good news is you will eventually get to a sharp corner in the track (the "Zag") at this point you are about half way - time wise - to the top. Also one more short grunt and you will find the trail, although still climbing, eases off. You have now done the steepest climb on the trail.

Just keep climbing and then about half a km from the top you emerge out onto a 4wd road. Turn left and after about half a km you reach the trig at the top. If you are lucky and have a clear day you can see for miles. The views are breathtaking.

You then return back down the way you came retracing your steps back to the carpark. For those who want a longer trip the options are endless from here. You can head down Wooded Gully or Ridge track. Maybe take an even longer trip out to Bobs Biv or the Pinchgut Hut. So many choices. One trip to the top of Mt Thomas is not going to satisfy. It is a summit that deserves repeat trips from different directions.

This is a DOC parking area. Plenty of space to park and the facility to park just over the culvert in the camping area.

23 km

20 minutes




Just keep heading up and up and up till you get to the trig.

Very patchy.

Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map.

No water available on this route. But there is water in a creek on Wooded Gully track.

Can get extremely cold on the summit in bad weather or cold winds. Always carry some warm clothing and water. Tell someone where you are heading.

Trail Legend

Lisa Ainley

Lisa Ainley

has completed Mt Thomas Direct! 16 times in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Unrelenting climb! Just the briefest respite about halfway up, but other than that, it's almost vertical the whole way to the summit. The surface itself is runnable throughout, and at time is wide enough to run side by side with a partner or two.. Outstanding views from the top, and we were blessed with no wind at all. A good day for a bit of fun with the GoPro:

Scott Ferguson

January 2, 2022

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