2 Days 73 Km


  • Mighty Clutha Mata-au River
  • Rural and mountain scenery
  • Intriguing historic sites


Grade 1 -2

Easiest - Easy

Soak up the scenery and stories of New Zealand’s mightiest river on this easy, multi-day Great Ride between sweet, rural settlements and heritage sites.

Clutha Gold Trail - Autumn, Clutha

Richly rewarding with so much to discover, this Ngā Haerenga Great Ride of New Zealand(opens in new window) follows the mighty Clutha Mata-au River(opens in new window) as it winds through gorgeous orchard country, fertile farmland and a secluded gorge.

A laidback and immersive journey between Roxburgh and Lawrence, it serves up everchanging landscapes alongside colourful history spanning Māori moa hunting to gold rushes and hydropower generation. Cycle the Clutha Gold Trail in full or as day rides, with the option to add on the Roxburgh Gorge Trail and other Great Rides in Central Otago.

Central Otago
Clutha Gold Trail, Central Otago

Ride experience

This trail stretches from Roxburgh Dam(opens in new window) to Lawrence, winding along the banks of the swirling Clutha Mata-au River with a backdrop of the bald Old Man Range.

Much of the trail follows the old railway corridor, making for a gentle ride that can be ridden in either direction. Cycling the trail over a couple of days will allow you to discover its hidden secrets and enjoy local hospitality in small settlements such as Roxburgh, Millers Flat, Beaumont and Lawrence

The upstream starting point is the elegant Roxburgh dam at the end of the Roxburgh Gorge Great Ride. Its history is retold in the first of a series of excellent trailside storyboards that bring the landscapes and places to life. 

There are many must-do’s along the way – from eating fresh stone fruit or a Jimmy’s Pie in Roxburgh (opens in new window)and no trip to Central Otago is complete without sampling the region's amazing food and wine. Go swimming at Pinders Pond or take the short walk to historic Horseshoe Bend Bridge(opens in new window).

The trail passes through wonderfully spooky Big Hill Tunnel(opens in new window) as its approaches Lawrence, Otago’s first gold rush town. From here the trail is being extended to the Waihola Wetlands(opens in new window) (due to open in 2023), with plans for it to stretch all the way to Dunedin

Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails Official Website

A detailed description of this Great Ride, including maps and more information, can be found here.

Clutha Gold Trail(opens in new window)

Mata-Au River, Clutha

Need to know

  • This grade 1 to 2 trail is one of the easier Great Rides(opens in new window), with a smooth, wide surface and almost entirely flat gradient. 
  • The Clutha Gold Trail is well signposted and frequently passes small settlements and farms dotted along country roads. 
  • Food and drink are available in towns dotted along the route. Toilets at dotted at convenient intervals. 
  • Homely accommodation and convenient transport (including luggage transfers) make an overnight stop not only easy but an opportunity to soak up the peaceful atmosphere of this rural, southern region.
  •  The trail can be cycled at any time of year, each season coloured with a striking palette, from golden willow to purple thyme. Central Otago’s temperatures are extreme – hot and dry in summer, icy in winter, making spring and autumn both fantastic seasons to ride.
  • Upriver, the trail connects with the Roxburgh Gorge, and onward to several other Great Rides including the Lake Dunstan Trail and Otago Central Rail Trail.
Clutha Gold Trail, New Zealand

Transport and tours 

Whether you’re looking for a short ride or the full, multi-day adventure, there are plenty of tour companies offering everything from bike hire and shuttles to full package tours with everything included.  

Bike It Now(opens in new window), Shebikeshebikes and Trail Journeys(opens in new window) offer bike hire, transport and luggage transfers for rides throughout the region. Escape by Cycle(opens in new window) offers similar services along with guided ride options. All can tailor itineraries combining the best of Central Otago’s trails. The trail’s official partners are listed on the Great Ride of New Zealand(opens in new window) website. 


Roxburgh and Lawrence are the main bases for the trail, although there are many more options in the surrounding countryside and in Alexandra, a handy location for all the Central Otago cycle trails. Accommodation providers partnered with the trail are listed on the New Zealand Cycle Trail website. Other popular bases within two hours’ drive include Queenstown, Wānaka(opens in new window)Cromwell and Clyde. The trail’s official partners are listed on the Great Ride of New Zealand(opens in new window) website. 

Useful links

Ngā Haerenga Great Rides of NewZealand(opens in new window)
Clutha Gold Trail(opens in new window)
Central Otago Tourism(opens in new window)

Great Rides app - Clutha Gold Trail(opens in new window)

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