Lawrence is situated 92km south-west of Dunedin on State Highway 8, nestled in the rolling hills of the Clutha region.
During the gold rush and sawmilling eras the whole district rattled with the sound of diggers and wagon trains as trade routes were established through the plains and across the Clutha River. The discovery of gold at Gabriel's Gully near Lawrence by Gabriel Read in May 1861 led to the Central Otago gold rush. While gold had been found in Otago before, this rush was beyond expectation, with the population of the gold field rising from almost nothing to around 11,500 within a year, twice that of Dunedin at the time.
The Clutha Gold Trail starts from the historic township of Lawrence and stretches 73 km to Lake Roxburgh. The first 5 km follows the now disused railway line through farmlands and on through the old Big Hill rail tunnel (440m) to Beaumont. Experience diverse landscapes, distinct seasons, contrasting colours and genuinely friendly communities.
Lawrence is a small town of 474 inhabitants (as per the 2001 census) in Otago, in New Zealand's South Island. It's an ideal place to stop for coffee, lunch and to stretch your legs, or use the free internet access and free international phone service at the Information Centre; explore and stay at a number of quality and historical accommodation facilities ranging from motels to bed and breakfast and camping grounds.