This three-day itinerary covering the Roxburgh Gorge and the Clutha Gold trails takes you into the rural heartland of Central Otago.
You’ll enjoy an easy mix of cycling, heritage and diverse landscapes on the two trails that can easily be linked to be completed over three days. Experienced riders can even extend the ride to the Otago Central Cycle Trail for a nearly 250km cycling adventure of a lifetime.
Day 1: Alexandra to Roxburgh, 44km
The Roxburgh Gorge Trail is a fantastic one-day ride from Alexandra to Lake Roxburgh Dam, following the Clutha Mata-au River. As you enter through the gorge, huge buffs – almost 350m – is an otherworldly experience. The landscape is diverse, never monotonous. Riders will also be rewarded with remnants of the gold mining history, a trademark of this region.
The middle section of the trail is not accessible by bike and cyclists need to take a 12km boat ride down the river before continuing on the trail. You can cycle on till Roxburgh via Lake Roxburgh Dam (an additional 10km), the start of Clutha Gold Trail. Or, you can spend the night at Lake Roxburgh Village near the dam.
Set off on this cruisy cycle trail along the gloriously blue and mighty Clutha Mata-Au River. You’ll weave through willows on the riverside and orchards that are bursting with delicious fruits in summer. There is also loads of Maori and early European culture and history to be discovered along the way. Millers Flat is a small settlement with a few accommodation options, a general store, a café and a gallery.
You’ll ride down the valley, along the Clutha Mata-Au and a historic railway line for the first half of this ride. Beaumont, about 20km from Millers Flat is a good place to stop for refreshments. From here, there is a moderate climb to Lawrence, New Zealand’s first gold-rush town. The local museum and Gabriels Gulley mining area are worth exploring.