Oxford / Rangiora

Visit Oxford & Rangiora, Canterbury, NZ

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  • Oxford and Rangiora are historically important towns in the Waimakariri District, in the south of the North Canterbury region. Rangiora is the largest town and the administrative centre of the district, located near the Selwyn River, about 8 km from the coast.

    Oxford is 30 km to the west, is near to foothills of the Alps and the Waimakariri River gorge. In early settler times, it was an important timber town, developing as a 2 km strip of road and divided into East and West Oxford, each with its own railway station.

    Waimakariri (meaning “cold water”) is one of the South Island’s largest rivers in terms of flow volume. It is a braided river running in many shallow and deep channels that branch and weave around low islands of shingle. Rangiora is located close to the Ashley, a small braided river.

    Accommodation in Oxford/Rangiora (NZ)

    Places of accommodation are located throughout the Waimakariri District, in towns, farming country, and wilderness locations.

    Oxford has a country motel, bed & breakfast establishments based in the town or on outlying rural properties. There are also self-contained cottages to rent.

    Exclusive country lodges are to be found in the foothills west of Oxford, including near the Waimakariri and Ashley gorges, to the south and north, respectively. There is a holiday park at Ashley Gorge for camping, and a restored historic homestead lodge at Okuku north of the Ashley.

    Rangiora has a hotel, motel and B&B accommodation, along with country lodge and farm-stay options in the surrounding district, including Pegasus Lake.

    Transport around Oxford/Rangiora

    Oxford is about 50 minutes’ drive from Christchurch. This route includes Tram Road, the longest stretch of straight road in New Zealand at 38 km long.

    Oxford can also be reached along the Inland Scenic Route (SH 72), which skirts the mountains as it runs north from Timaru.

    Rangiora is about 40 minutes’ drive from Christchurch. On State Highway 1, it is served by inter-city coaches, as well as the Coastal Pacific railway that runs between Picton and Christchurch. There is a daily bus service that connects Rangiora with Christchurch, Kaiapoi, Woodend and Waikuku.

    Oxford and Rangiora are about 30 km apart along the Inland Scenic route.

    Tourist Activities around Oxford/Rangiora

    Both Oxford and Rangiora have galleries and shops selling arts & crafts, gifts and locally-made fashions, and have restaurants and cafes. Oxford has a local Heritage Museum built recently from handmade bricks, while Rangiora has a Colonial Museum. There are two golf courses near Rangiora.

    Oxford was nominated New Zealand’s most beautiful small town in 2001 and 2002. Its old railway stations and historic buildings are charming. A large and well-established landscaped garden park is worth visiting. A farmers market is held every Sunday morning, year round.

    There are many walks and mountain biking trails around the Oxford area, including nearby Coopers Creek, which flows from the hills across the plains to meet the Waimakariri River near to its mouth. Further west, there are longer walks and mountain biking trails at Oxford Forest (11,350 Ha), which has 4 mountain biking trails from Grades 1-3, many walking tracks, and areas set aside for hunting. Other options for walking, cycling and horse trekking include Lees Valley, Eyre River and View Hill.

    Rangiora also has a theatre, based in its 1926 town hall, used by two local dramatic societies. It also has a showground complex, which hosts an annual racing car festival. There is also a trampoline and gymnastics centre that offers children’s programmes. There are several wineries in the area, which can be visited as part of a guided “wine trail” activity. Rangiora has New Zealand’s only commercial mead winery.

    River activities such as jet-boat tours are available at Rangiora. The nearby coastal resort at Pegasus Lake has camping, swimming, kayaking, surfing, mountain biking and golf facilities and equipment for hire.

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    Oxford / Rangiora