21 km (ride) + 13km boat ride | Grade 2-3 | 1 Day
The Roxburgh Gorge Trail is another world. It offers a wilderness experience through the remote and stunning Roxburgh Gorge.
The beauty of this magnificent trail is that you can choose what you want to experience, start to finish or just part of it.
The Roxburgh Gorge Trail is one of New Zealand’s most visually spectacular day rides. Stretching between Alexandra and Lake Roxburgh Hydro Dam the trail follows the Clutha Mata-au River past eroded bluffs and old gold workings set amidst willows, native shrubs and fragrant thyme.
Cycle or walk from Alexandra to Doctors Point and then back again, or start from Lake Roxburgh Dam and head upstream to Shingle Creek and return. Experiencing the whole trail, you will enjoy a boat transfer between Doctors Point and Shingle Creek.
The colour palette is amazing! In late spring, the hillsides are covered in purple with flowering wild thyme, in summer the blue green of the Clutha River is in graphic contrast to the grey schist rock outcrops and in autumn the willow trees on the waters edge turn brilliant gold.
Open all year round, the trail is a well-formed 2.5 metre wide gravel surface with some climbs. It will take up to four or five hours to complete depending on how you choose to experience it. The trail’s proximity to the Otago Central Rail Trail and the Clutha Gold Trail will also ensure that visitors to the area will have the opportunity to experience even more of Central Otago’s unique scenery.
Learn more, and plan your ride below, or visit www.roxburghgorge.co.nz
Roxburgh Gorge Trail Sections
Alexandra to Doctors Point - 10km one way
The trail starts at the Clutha-Mata-au River near Alexandra’s Bridge. Look out for the remaining piers of the original suspension bridge, built in 1882.
The Manuherikia River joins the Clutha and you enter into the Gorge within 1km of the track start. 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 towards Butchers Creek (4.1km) where you will see stone walled water races and signs of the gold mining days.
The contrast of blue water, grey schist, purple thyme, willows and poplars – green or gold depending on the season – is a feast for the senses.
Doctors Point is where this section of trail finishes and is the pick-up point for the 13-kilometre jet boat trip bridging the missing link. Here you can either met your pre-booked boat tour for the trip down river to Shingle Creek or head back the way you came and see the gorge from a new perspective.
The 45-minute boat tour down river is a highly memorable way to delve deeper into the gorge’s history. You’ll see the extensive sluicings at Doctors Point, the site of the 14 Mile electric powered dredge and its generator plant, and other hidden sights such as Mrs Heron’s mud-mortar cottage. Local jet boat drivers revel in retelling these riveting stories of the gold miners of yore.
Roxburgh Dam to Shingle Creek - 11km one way
From the Roxburgh Dam lookout the trail almost instantly takes you away from urban life and into the rugged, isolated landscape via a cleverly designed series of switchbacks with long sweeping vistas up Lake Roxburgh.
The trail turns away from the lake and passes through a small secluded valley and regenerating Kanuka Tree (Tea Tree) scrubland and on into a rural farm setting as the trail makes it way closer to the highway. A long gradual descent takes you back toward the lake and down to the boat jetty at Shingle Creek. This is where this section of trail finishes and is the pick-up point for the 13-kilometre jet boat trip bridging the missing link. Here you can either met your pre-booked boat tour for the trip upstream to Doctors Point or head back the way you came and see the gorge from a new perspective
If cycling the full trail from Alexandra this section is ridden from Shingle Creek to finish at Lake Roxburgh Dam.
From the end of the trail above the Roxburgh Dam a short cycle over the Dam then connects you to the start of the Clutha Gold Trail.
Boat Transfers and Map
The Roxburgh Gorge Trail can be cycled or walked from either direction. Download the Map and Learn about the two sections of the trail and how they can be enjoyed as a full day journey with a boat transfer in the middle, or as half day trips from either end.
The 13 km / 45 minute boat tour is highly memorable - there is a choice of providers and prior booking is essential.