biking

Lake Dunstan, Roxburgh Gorge and Clutha Gold Trails

The miraculous Lake Dunstan Trail is an engineering marvel between Cromwell and Clyde. The Roxburgh Gorge and Clutha Gold Trails follow the Clutha/Mata-au River past eroded bluffs and old gold workings set amidst graceful willows. Ride the whole route over 4 days or mix and match as you wish!

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Activity in brief

Distance:
21 - 160km
Duration:
1 - 4 days
Start - End:
Cromwell - Clyde - Lawrence
Transport:
Shuttle Bus, Jet Boat

Terrain: Mostly easy and flat, but there are some steeper climbing sections and drop-offs on the Lake Dunstan Trail. Generally wide and smooth gravel track. Some sections on road.

Accommodation: Lodges and B&Bs

Nearest Town: Queenstown, Cromwell, Clyde

Activity Overview


New Zealand’s most visually spectacular and intriguing trails combine to make for a superb exploration of this stunning part of Central Otago. The Lake Dunstan Trail is an engineering masterpiece - in places literally clinging to the rock face overlooking the Clutha river between Cromwell and Clyde. The relaxing Roxburgh Gorge and Clutha Gold Trails meanwhile are a great alternative to the very famous (and busy) Otago Central Rail Trail.

Following the Clutha/Mata-au River offers a striking snapshot of Central Otago’s heritage and natural history – in all its captivating forms, shapes and seasonal colours. Scoured by the mighty river, the deep gorges were a primary pathway for early Māori moa hunters who traveled from mountains to sea in their mokihi (reed canoes). The sheer hillsides are cloaked in gardens of kanuka, kowhai, mountain cottonwood and broom. Part of the Roxburgh Gorge Trail also requires a jet boat ride which adds a little extra excitement to your day!

From the Hydro Dam at Roxburgh the scenery opens up with the Clutha Gold Trail, with more easy riding through Central Otago’s Teviot Valley. The journey reveals all sorts of fascinating stories – the gold rush, which left an indelible mark on the landscape in crumbling ruins, the building of railways and hydropower stations and the pastoral farming and fruit growing that flourishes to this day.

Along the way friendly Central Otago hospitality is never far away - Cosy Lodge and B&B accommodation, great food and local wines. 

(all photo credits: Katherine Fletcher - Bike It Now, Clyde)

Itineraries

Personalised Itineraries

Personalise your Lake Dunstan, Roxburgh Gorge and Clutha Gold Trails Ride:

If you want to develop your own personalised experience we will be happy to help you organise it. 1 to 4 days riding along various parts of the three trails is all possible. 

Alternatively you may be keen to skip various sections - this is a great option if you're riding with younger children. We can sort out specialist bike hire options for younger kids too.

We can also arrange extra accommodation for before and after the ride for you plus return transportation from Queenstown to Clyde if required.

Contact us to find out more!


Include the Lake Dunstan, Roxburgh Gorge and Clutha Gold Trails in your unique Multi-Activity Trip:

You can combine these rides with any other activity on this website to create your own unique itinerary.

When you develop your own tailor-made itinerary with us, it's fully customised with your choice of activities, accommodation and transport around New Zealand - Click here for more information about Multi-Activity Trips or Enquire Now to get started.



Or simply book this great 4 day Ride now...
Lake Dunstan, Roxburgh Gorge and Clutha Gold Trail Four Day Ride
  • Three night's ensuite accommodation & breakfast on trail included.
  • All transportation included, including jet boat along part of the Roxburgh Gorge.
  • Includes daily luggage transfers between accommodation.
  • Rental options for touring bikes, mountain bikes and electric bikes available.

Day One: Lake Dunstan Trail - Cromwell to Clyde (42km). In the morning you will be shuttled from Clyde to Cromwell to start the trail. Following the Kawarau arm of Lake Dunstan to the Bannockburn bridge, you will have amazing vistas across the lake to Bannockburn vineyards as you loop round on the opposite side. You then enter the Cromwell Gorge where you will be amazed at the skills of trail builders with sections built out around sheer rock faces. A dominant feature at the Clyde end of the trail is New Zealand’s third largest hydro-dam, the Clyde Dam. 

Day Two: Roxburgh Gorge Trail - Clyde to Roxburgh Hydro (33km). This section of the Trail starts with easy single track riding following the Clutha River to Alexandra. The Manuherikia River joins the Clutha river and you enter into the gorge. Be amazed by the quick transition from urban to remote and the awe inspiring gorge setting. The trail gains height as it makes its way to Butchers Creek (4.1km) where you will see stone walled water races and signs of the old gold mining days. The trail stops beside the boat jetty at Doctors Point.  This is where you will meet the jet boat at a pre-arranged time for transfer down the lake to Shingle Creek. From here ascend gradually into a more rural setting, passing through small secluded valleys. As you approach the Roxburgh Dam the rugged isolated landscape allows you to take in stunning vistas up and down the lake.

Day Three: Clutha Gold Trail - Roxburgh Hydro to Millers Flat (30km). This morning you cross over the Roxburgh Dam and join the Clutha Gold Trail. This part of the trail takes you alongside the mighty Clutha/Mata-au River – its distinctive turquoise colour, constant flow and ever changing moods become interwoven with your experience. Look out for signs of the original search for gold and imagine what the hardy settlers faced in the early days. As you travel downstream you cannot miss the orchards on both sides of the valley creating a splash of colour at every season.

Day Four: Clutha Gold Trail - Millers Flat to Lawrence (43km). This section of the trail takes you from the pastoral farm land and orchards around Millers Flat through the remoteness of the Beaumont Gorge and visit the historic Horseshoe Bend Bridge. From Beaumont you start the climb towards the highest point of the trail and through the Big Hill Tunnel. After the tunnel you descend into lush green farmland. There are many reminders of the area’s history along the route, including the discovery of gold, milling of flax fibre for rope making around Evans Flat and the arrival of the Chinese prospectors to the goldfields. At Lawrence you will be picked up and returned by shuttle bus to Clyde.

Pricing: Lake Dunstan, Roxburgh Gorge and Clutha Gold Trail Four Day Ride

From NZD$740 per person including B&B accommodation, daily luggage transfers, jet boat and shuttle bus transportation. 

Four Days Bike Hire: From NZD$220 for a standard touring or mountain bike OR from NZD$420 for an e-bike.

Book Now

Activity Planning

When to go

This trail can be completed year round. The summers in this part of the South Island can get very hot and dry, while the winters can be cold and even snowy.

Autumn is a popular time as the daytime temperatures are a bit cooler and the red and gold colours on the trees are spectacular.

What to bring

Bike - Good quality mountain bike or e-bike with suspension and knobbly tires, helmet, spares etc.

Sneakers, light waterproof hiking shoes or biking shoes

Gloves

Light waterproof jacket

Bidon (Water bottle)

Sunscreen

Insect repellant

First-aid kit

Torch

Communication device

Accommodation
Accommodation on the trail

There are some fantastic accommodation options* available for every night on the trail. You can choose from a selection of Lodges, B&Bs, Motels and Luxury Boutique Accommodation. Each are clean, well appointed, family friendly and have super welcoming hosts.
 

CBD Accommodation, Clyde

Located in a quiet location just a short walk to historic Clyde village centre, there are three well-appointed modern self-contained double or twin studio units. Each unit has a kitchenette, en suite bathroom and free WIFI.

Lake Roxburgh Lodge

Lake Roxburgh Lodge is steeped with local history, offering well-appointed guest accommodation in studio rooms and suites, breakfast and dinner in the restaurant with Central Otago wines and locally crafted beers.

Melrose Cottage

This modern, refurbished cottage is the perfect retreat and every care has been taken to ensure that your stay will be relaxing and enjoyable. Melrose Cottage offers 3 Double Bedrooms, a modern kitchen, dining area and lounge and an outdoor deck with BBQ.


 
*We cannot always guarantee accommodation will be available in these listed properties, especially during busy periods. If it's necessary to arrange alternative accommodation then we always endeavour to organise a similar quality option for you, and we always go through the details with you before you commit to your booking.

 
Accommodation in Central Otago

We can organise your accommodation in the wider region for before and after your bike ride if you wish. Please let us know what sort of accommodation you are looking for when you make your booking for this activity, and we can discuss the options with you.

Transportation
Shuttle Bus

If you are doing the Lake Dunstan Trail a shuttle bus will take you from Clyde to Cromwell's Heritage Precinct where the trail starts.

For those riding the complete 4 days of trails a shuttle bus picks you up from Lawrence and takes you back to where you started in Clyde.

You can also get a bus to transfer you from Queenstown to the start of the trail at Clyde, which then returns you back to Queenstown when you have finished, if that is most convenient for you - let us know when you make your booking and we can set this up for you.

For more flexibility you can get a shuttle to bypass certain sections if you wish to shorten your ride. If you are keen to create your own itinerary we would be happy to help - contact us and we can go through the best options for you.
 

Jet Boat

The section between Doctors Point and Shingle Creek in the Roxburgh Gorge has no bike track - we arrange a jet boat to transport you here.

Route Map
Get in touch

For more information about us or our services contact us on
+ 64 3 390 1584
or email us at [email protected]

Enquire Now