Easiest - Easy
Let the teal coloured waters of the Kawarau and Clutha Rivers guide you between Clyde and Cromwell on the Lake Dunstan Trail.
The Lake Dunstan Trail flaunts the best of Central Otago's natural beauty and begins from the quaint township of Clyde (or Cromwell).
The trail seeps with history from the bygone gold rush days, and as you cycle or walk the easy 55km ride (Grade 1-2) alongside the beautiful teal waters of Lake Dunstan, the Kawarau River, and the Clutha River it will become clear to see why many early settlers chose to reside in this region.
Sample cherries and nectarines during the summer and spring months and enjoy some locally produced Central Otago wines.
The Lake Dunstan Trail is divided into four sections - each with its own spectacular and diverse scenery.
This easy trail is jam-packed with gold mining history, amazing river views and local hospitality.
- Smiths Way to Cromwell Heritage Precinct - 16kms
Cycle or walk alongside Lake Dunstan from Smiths Way, via Pisa Moorings, to Cromwell.
Lake Dunstan is 40kms long so take your time and enjoy the many picturesque rests stops along the way. Explore the Cromwell Heritage Precinct and step back in time in the boutique galleries, retail stores, restaurants and cafe's in the area. Did you know there was once a township where Lake Dunstan is now? Remains of it are now at the bottom of the lake.
- Cromwell Heritage Precinct to Bannockburn Bridge - 6kms
Following the Kawarau arm of Lake Dunstan to the Bannockburn Bridge, gaze at vistas across the lake to Bannockburn vineyards - will you stop in for a glass of world-famous Central Otago pinot noir?
It is possible to loop back to Cromwell by a trail alongside Bannockburn Road, making for a wonderful short and family-friendly day ride.
- Bannockburn Bridge to Cornish Point - 7.3kms
After crossing the Bannockburn Bridge the trail loops back and around the Bannockburn inlet which is a popular picnic area with a designated swimming area.
As you continue towards Cornish Point you'll pass by vineyards and olive groves - with nice views back across to Cromwell and the Heritage Precinct.
- Cornish Point to Clyde - 25kms
This section of the trail takes you into the Cromwell Gorge. The narrow trail clutches to the rock face and sits above the lake. As you can imagine this section of the trail was no small feat to build!
A dominant feature at the Clyde end of the trail is New Zealand’s third-largest hydro-dam, the Clyde Dam. Construction began in 1977 the first power was generated in 1992.
The trail ranges across grades 1–2 (easiest to easy).
A mixture of wooden boardwalks, dirt tracks and gravel trails feature on the Lake Dunstan Trail. The terrain is predominantly flat and the final section includes cycling (or walking) on an elevated platform.
The final 25 kilometres of the track is remote and has no access to a main road.
The trail is well signposted and riders / walkers should carry a map, sufficient water and food, a basic tool kit (for cyclists) and cellphone (although reception may be patchy).
Before you set off for the day, it is vital that you check the forecast and track conditions and take clothing for all eventualities - Cental Otago is hot and dry in summer and spring so remember your sunhat, sunglasses and sunscreen and rug up warm in the cooler months.
Wearing a helmet is a legal requirement when cycling in New Zealand.
This trail is well supported by tour companies offering bike hire, shuttles, luggage transfers and accommodation packages.
Contact these Clyde based operators for more information;
Receive friendly Kiwi hospitality, home-cooked meals and a comfortable rest after a day on the trail.