Grade: Easy (2)
Duration: 1 day
Total Length: 34km
The Roxburgh Gorge Trail will be a spectacular one-day ride between Alexandra and the Roxburgh Dam along the Clutha Mata-au River, linking with the Otago Central Rail Trail and the Clutha Gold Trail.
Within a short distance from Alexandra the trail heads into the gorge. Along the trail are old schist huts built into the rock by Chinese miners and remains of two small mining settlements.
The Roxburgh Gorge has bluffs rising almost 350 metres on either side of the river at its most dramatic point and has been described as New Zealand’s own “Grand Canyon”. Opening up this gorge, which has no road access, will open up access to a truly iconic environment. Near Roxburgh Dam the hills become less steep and the swirling currents of the river are replaced by the still waters of Lake Roxburgh.
The opportunity to explore well preserved mining relics set within an imposing and inspiring landscape will appeal to a wide range of people looking for a great one day ride.
The trail’s proximity to the Otago Central Rail Trail and the proposed Clutha Gold Trail will also ensure that visitors to the area will have the opportunity to experience even more of Central Otago’s unique scenery.
Best time to ride
The trail will be open throughout the year. Spring to autumn (September-May) will be ideal times for passing through the gorge. A highlight will be in late spring when the hillsides will be covered in purple with flowering wild thyme. In late summer and autumn the celebrated colours of Central Otago will provide a graphic contrast to the dry hillsides and schist outcrops.
The trail starts from Alexandra, with a car park located on Poplar Grove, which is off Earnscleugh Road on the Bridge Hill side of the Clutha Mata-au. It will end at the Roxburgh Dam, 8km north of Roxburgh. Please note that mobile coverage in the Roxburgh Gorge is patchy at best.
The trail is a joint initiative of Roxburgh Gorge Trail Charitable Trust and The New Zealand Cycle Trail project.
Click here for more information, photos and maps.