The Wharfedale Track is the relic of an historic road dating to the late 1870s. It was never completed and fell into disrepair. It has come back to life as an interesting hiking and mountain biking track through beech forest. It's well benched into the hillsides and the gradient is generally well controlled. It climbs very gradually to Wharfedale Saddle but there are undulations where washouts have occurred over the years. From the saddle it generally eases down to Dobson Stream where you'll come to the Wharfedale Hut after 15kms.
The track is generally quite tame and well surfaced but there are some stream crossings, roots, rocks and other features to keep you alert here and there. Overall though, this is a back country ride you do for the peace of the outdoors, the songs of the birds, and the good of your soul rather than the excitement of technical features. If you want to stay at the hut you'll need to bring food, cooking gear, tooth brush and sleeping bag. If you do stay overnight at the hut consider hiking up to Black Hill Hut and beyond to the tops where the views are stupendous on a clear day.
From the Wharfedale Hut you can continue a few rougher kilometers on to the end of the Wharfedale Track where you'll come to a bridge and the start of the Townsend Track. Some fitness riders start from Oxford, ride the Wharfedale Track then the Townsend Track, then take the road through the Ashley Gorge back to Oxford for a circuit of over 75km. The Townsend Track is a four wheel drive track over farmland which leads out to the Lees Valley. It crosses the river twice and may be closed during lambing etc. Call DOC, Waimakariri, on 03 313 0820 before tackling it.
Most people have a picnic lunch at the Wharfedale Hut then turn back.