Ashley Gorge Loop Waterfall - Knowles Top

Saturday 30 April 2022

Seven set out in good weather for this day-trip in the Oxford area. After parking at the Ashley Gorge picnic ground we set off at 9:15 following the track over the bridge onto the well-marked loop and waterfall track. We passed a number of possum traps and three had claimed victims. On, at-times slippery but nicely graded track we reached the falls in 30 minutes, then back-tracked 8 minutes to a handy cleared spur leading to the ridge track that goes to Knowles Top.

The spur has been sprayed so was quite open with some scrub, gorse and clumps of manuka. We followed a steep, unmarked track up the spur until thicker beech forest was encountered near the ridge-line. The track in the forest was easy to follow until we met a T intersection. After consulting our maps, we decided to disregard the crude Taranaki gate and headed NE along the ridge towards Knowles Top. The ridge line track was easy to follow, although over-grown in places and with windfall across it at times. Wasps hadn’t yet all gone on vacation to Fiji and Wendy and Kerry, travelling at the rear got stung, Wendy on bare leg and Kerry through clothing. We came to the tussock clearing at noon and headed for the trig point a mere 200m away. We had views out across the plains and down to Glentui to the north. After taking photos, eating lunch and lying in the warm sun amongst the tussock, we retraced our steps back along the ridge and down the open spur. We encountered a couple of groups walking their canines up to the waterfall on our way out and were back at the cars at 3pm. This was a great easy-moderate trip in calm, sunny weather.

We were: Graeme Nicholas (leading) Barbara Eisele, Steve Cameron, Kerry Moore, Kyung Sang Lee, Keith Hoard and Wendy McCaughan [GN]

At 835m on Knowles Top. Photo by Wendy