One of the World’s largest and fastest ever gold rushes swept through Lawrence and the surrounding area in the 1860’s and you can still get a real sense of the rich history today.
This itinerary could be done in one day or spread out over a few days combining with the Clutha Gold Cycling and Walking Trail.
Start or end with a trip on our fantastic free ferry, the Tuapeka Punt which crosses New Zealand’s mighty Clutha River every morning and afternoon running between 8-10am and 4-6pm (check their Facebook page for updates, as crossings are dependent on river levels). It dates back to the 1890’s and is the only one of its kind left in the Southern Hemisphere.
Take the cross country route to Lawrence via Tuapeka West or follow the Clutha River up to Beaumont and on to Lawrence hugging the amazing turquoise blue hue of the country’s most impressive waterway.
44.7 km, 33 min drive (via Beaumont) or 26.2 km, 28 min drive (via Tuapeka West, note: detour is in place due to bridge repairs)
Once you get to lovely Lawrence saunter round the historic town with its Victorian gems like Anthem House where you guessed it the music for New Zealand's national anthem was composed.
Pop into the Lawrence Information Centre and Tuapeka Goldfields Museum (9.30am - 4.30pm everyday) for a taste of the good old days before strolling to the very pretty Bellview Wetlands (open 10am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday) in the heart of town.
From the town centre (3.7 km, 5 min drive), head out to Gabriel’s Gully, named after Gabriel Read who found the first golden nugget in 1861, sparking Otago's gold rush. It’s a lovely walk with interpretation panels along the way telling the goldmining story. There is a spot in Gabriels Gully Reserve where you can pan for gold, and a tranquil picnic area at nearby Greys Dam.
A longer stroll from the town centre or quick drive (1.4 km, 1 min drive) takes you to the Lawrence Chinese Gold Miners Camp which is one of the most important sites of its kind in the whole country.
If you are in the area on a Spring weekend (mid-September to mid-October) then you must check out the delightful daffodil display in the ruins of the Weatherstons Brewery on Waipori Road (2.8 km, 5 min drive).
Perhaps the best way to truly soak up that heritage of early New Zealand is to get out and about on the Clutha Gold Cycle and Walking Trail. The trail which currently takes you from Lake Roxburgh to Lawrence is set to get even bigger and better, with the route being extended all the way to Lake Waihola!
The Clutha Gold Cycling & Walking Trail already links with the Roxburgh Gorge Trail.
Alternatively, take a swing at the Lawrence Golf Club.