Clutha Gold Trail
Lawrence to Roxburgh Dam -73km
Open year-round, this smooth, wide, well-formed trail which stretches 73km requires moderate fitness. The Clutha Gold Trail is one of the ‘Great Rides’ of the Nga Haerenga, New Zealand Cycle Trail.
No matter which end you start at, this trail offers a rural heartland experience combined with a wealth of gold mining history. The Clutha Gold Trail provides a unique heritage experience along the lush valleys of the historic gold mining town of Lawrence, through the old Big Hill rail tunnel (440m) and on to Beaumont Gorge, branching off into the mighty Clutha Mata-au River.
A trail link can be made at Lake Roxburgh. Go across the hydro dam to the Roxburgh Gorge trail. This trail of 34km includes a section in the middle of about 14km that can only be travelled by boat, which needs to be booked at any i-SITE in Central Otago. The boat service runs between Shingle Creek jetty and Doctors Point jetty and the boat drivers will give you an insight to the history of the area.
To enhance riders’ experience, stories will showcase the area’s absorbing history of early Maori moa hunters, Chinese and other international gold miners. European pastoral farming, mining and rail development; as well as updates on local orchards and arts and culture.
The trail forms part of the extensive network of Great Rides in Otago and links directly to the well-known Central Otago Rail Trail, via the Roxburgh Gorge Trail, which follows along the true left bank of Lake Roxburgh from Roxburgh Dam.
The Blue Mountains are a range of rugged hills in Clutha. They form a barrier between the valleys of the Clutha and Pomahaka Rivers, lie between the towns of Tapanui and Lawrence and rise to 1019 metres (3280 ft). The Blue Mountains are home to one of the largest herds of wild fallow deer in the South Island, hunting is permitted on Department of Conservation administered land.
Beaumont Millennium Track - drive from Lawrence on State Highway 8 and stop on the south side of the Beaumont Bridge. This easy bike ride will take you to a swing bridge, lonely graves and the old railway line, which is also used by vehicles—please take care.
Single track riding can be found in Balclutha, along the Clutha River on the Blair Athol walkway and then into the ‘Rhodo Dell’. There is also single track riding in the Kaitangata forests. Tracks are being cut in both The Catlins forest and the Blue Mountain forest – ask the local information centres for starting points. There are numerous cross-country, metalled roads and forestry tracks throughout the district – one of the best is from Beaumont to Millers Flat along the Clutha River, or try the Governor’s single track near Lake Mahinerangi. Mountain bikers should enquire with the local information centre.