19km return - Beginner
Suitable for the whole family, runs beside the shoreline of Lake Dunstan from Old Cromwell Town up to Lowburn and return. Expect a flat and smooth trail with some sandy sections which follows a single or 4WD track.
Starting at the Cromwell Heritage Precinct, head north beside Lake Dunstan passing under Cromwell Bridge, otherwise known as Deadmans Point, before meandering along the shoreline through McNulty Inlet and heading along the lake to finish at the Lowburn Collie Club.
From here, cross over the main highway skirting the Lowburn Peninsula inlet and on to the relocated Lowburn hall and church. This is worth a visit. Read the plaques taken from the Lowburn Bridge now housed in the hall that tell the story about this 1930’s concrete Bridge still in existence under the lake today. Now follow the track around the inlet to the lake for the final section past the 45th Parallel marker and to the Collie Club.
On the return, if you have the time take the additional 9 km loop up Lowburn Valley Road, into Heaney Road, and back on to the track at the lake via Burn Cottage Road. This mix of gravel and sealed roads will be like a pleasant rural escape bursting with colour from the nearby Central Otago vineyards and orchards particularly in spring and autumn.
Of course your experience is not complete without a stop at the roadside orchard stalls for your fresh fruit in season. On your return, call into one of the winery cellar doors or make sure you treat yourself to a leisurely coffee and stroll around the Cromwell Heritage Precinct.
30km - Advanced/Expert
Carricktown Trail is an awe inspiring adrenalin-pumping Central Otago bike ride high on the Carrick Range. This trail takes you behind Bannockburn and into another time – the site of another gold town from the 19th century. Take a moment to explore the few remains that still exist; stone ruins, a stamper battery, dams and rock walls and expect to be inspired by the magnificent views over Cromwell and the Upper Clutha Valley.
Starting at the Bannockburn Township, ride up the Bannockburn Road away from the lake approximately 2km before turning right on to Schoolhouse Road. Follow this road then turn a sharp right onto Quartzville Road. The entrance to the Carricktown Trail begins at the sign-posted gateway on your left. This 4WD gravel track climbs very steeply to the Young Australian water wheel where you can take a detour to view this relic of Central Otago’s gold mining history – it’s well worth a ride down the 1km track. Read the interpretation panel that explains the workings of this amazing engineering feat and on the other side of the valley you will see the stamper battery. This was dragged over the gully from its original site beside the water wheel.
To return, retrace your steps back down the track to Quartzville Road. Riding down the gully you’ll notice two well preserved dams before coming into the old main street of Carricktown. Take the time to explore the numerous ruins and gold workings before starting the challenging down-hill ride - wonderful views down to Cromwell and the Clutha Valley can be seen.
There are some steep and very rocky sections on this descent with large ruts. This track is very exposed so check conditions at local information centres first and BE PREPARED