The Carricktown Trail takes you high on to the Carrick Range behind Bannockburn and into another time
Distance: 30 km Grade 3-4 Advanced/ Expert
Carricktown Trail is an awe inspiring adrenalin-pumping Central Otago bike ride high on the Carrick Range. This trail takes you behind Bannockburn and into another time – the site of another gold town from the 19th century. Unlike some, this area was never very rich with gold but still hundreds once flocked to seek their fortune here. Take a moment to explore the few remains that still exist; stone ruins, a stamper battery, dams and rock walls and expect to be inspired by the magnificent views over Cromwell and the Upper Clutha Valley.
Starting at the Bannockburn Township, ride up the Bannockburn Road away from the lake approximately 2km before turning right on to Schoolhouse Road. Follow this road then turn a sharp right onto Quartzville Road. The entrance to the Carricktown Trail begins at the sign-posted gateway on your left. This 4WD gravel track climbs very steeply to the Young Australian water wheel where you can take a detour to view this relic of Central Otago’s goldming history – it’s well worth a ride down the 1km track. Read the interpretation panel that explains the workings of this amazing engineering feat and on the other side of the valley you will see the stamper battery. This was dragged over the gully from its original site beside the water wheel.
To return, retrace your steps back down the track to Quartzville Road. Riding down the gully you’ll notice two well preserved dams before coming into the old main street of Carricktown. Take the time to explore the numerous ruins and gold workings before starting the challenging down-hill ride - wonderful views down to Cromwell and the Upper Clutha valley can be seen.
Stop at the Black Rabbit Cafe or Bannockburn Hotel for a well-deserved refreshment; or visit on of the many award winning wineries in the area.
There are some steep and very rocky sections on this descent with large ruts. This track is very exposed so check conditions at local information centres first and be prepared.