Wooded Gully is the campground in Mount Thomas Forest Conservation Area, an over 100-square-kilometer park in the foothills of the Southern Alps in the Canterbury Region of New Zealand. The campground is an hour’s drive from Christchurch and right at the start of hiking tracks into the forest. The inexpensive campground is short on amenities, but does have nice sites in a grass field and along a stream that tent and campervan campers can enjoy.
This Department of Conservation Campground does not have numbered sites, but covers a large area and could accommodate 50 groups. At the end of the road into the campground, you’ll find a large square lawn. Campers can claim different parcels of the lawn. A cow pasture next to the low end of the lawn is backed by views of the farm-covered plains below. At the higher end, you’ll find the camp toilet and registration kiosk (as well as blackberry bushes at one corner of the field). The toilet is basic and a sink with running water outside. Additional water can be drawn from Wooded Gulley Stream, which flows through the campground.
Backing up the road from the toilet toward the start of the hiking tracks, you’ll find additional spaces to camp. A line of tall pines separates the large lawn from a narrower field that borders the stream. Another mowed area near the start of Wooded Gulley Track and Summit Track is also available for campers (although it would be a longer walk from there to the toilet).
Wooded Gully Campground does not accept reservations and is first-come first-served. Self-register at the pay station next to the toilet when you arrive. The price to camp is $6 for adults eighteen and older and $3 for children 5-17. Children four years old and younger are free (all prices in New Zealand Dollars as of January, 2016). The campground does not have electrical hookups or other amenities beyond the toilet. For a short walk that departs from the campground, check out Kereru Loop.
Directions: From Oxford on Route 72, take Ashley Gorge Road northeast for 12.6 kilometers where it becomes Birch Hill Road. Go another 5 kilometers and turn left onto Hayland Road. Drive 3.6 kilometers and bear left to continue into the park, reaching the hiking tracks and campground after another 500 meters.
Campground address: 411 Hayland Road, Okuku, Canterbury, 7495, New Zealand
Campground coordinates: -43.1937, 172.3355 (43° 11′ 37.31″S 172° 20′ 07.79″E)
Use the map below to get directions to the campground:
|Kereru Loop (Wooded Gully Track – Kereru Track – Red Pine Track Loop)|
This 2.45-kilometer circuit is the shortest hike in Mount Thomas Forest Conservation Area, passing through forest to a picnic spot next to Wooded Gully Stream.
|Kura Tawhiti / Castle Hill Conservation Area|
This 2 to 3-kilometer hike explores a fascinating jumble of limestone boulders close to Arthur’s Pass National Park.
|More trails in New Zealand|
Explore other destinations for walking and hiking (as well camping and lodging) in New Zealand.
|Lake Pearson (Moana Rua) Campground|
This campground has about 20 sites along the shore of a peaceful lake between mountains in the Canterbury Region near Arthur’s Pass National Park.