The 21km-long Roxburgh Gorge Trail is divided into two almost equal sections between Alexandraand the Lake Roxburgh Hydro Dam, with an isolated stretch of river bridged by a thrilling 13km jetboat trip around the midway point. You can ride the full trail with a drop-off or pick up, or enjoy a rewarding return cycle from either end.
The section from Alexandra to Doctor’s Point begins at the town’s old stone bridge, passes through high, rocky bluffs to enter the extraordinary gorge. The trail is wide and smooth with a few gradual climbs to lookout points offering different vistas around every bend.
At Doctors Point, stow your bike onboard for a highly memorable jetboat tour taking in an array of sight and stories from early Māori travels to the gold rush. Miners’ huts made from stone, water races and Mrs Herron’s cottage are some of the hidden highlights.
At Shingle Creek jetty, the trail keeps tracing the river as it slows and widens to become Lake Roxburgh, formed by the Roxburgh Hydro Dam. Gentle climbs reveal spectacular views over the river and surrounding mountains, while the dam itself delivers a dramatic finale to this jaw-dropping day out.
Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails Official Website
A detailed description of this Great Ride, including maps and more information, can be found here.
With a wide, smooth surface, most of the Roxburgh Gorge Trail is grade 2 (easy) with a few grade 3 (intermediate) hills that are suitable for averagely fit cyclists (and confident E-bikers), or a leisurely push for those who wish to walk.
Around 4–6 hours should be allowed for the whole ride, including the boat ride which needs to be arranged in advance through local operators.
The two return-trip options – Alexandra to Doctors Point (20km return) or Roxburgh Dam to Shingle Point (22km) – are both easy rides taking around 2–3 hours.
The trail is well signposted but remote, so riders should be self-sufficient for water and food, and carry a basic tool kit. There are toilets at Doctors Point and Shingle Creek.
The trail can be ridden at any time of year, each season showcases different colours: 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 times to ride. Always check the weather before you start trail.
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 fully packaged tours with everything included.
Cyclists undertaking the full trail need to pre-arrange the jetboat ride between Doctors Point and Shingle Creek, as well as return shuttle transport from the Roxburgh end. Boat trips can be arranged direct with Beaumont Jetor Clutha River Cruises.