Cruising on a wide, flowing trail; the gentle magic of Otago hills and farmland extending around you.
The rhythmic flow of pedals, a breeze in your face, and the quiet pleasure of friends.
Some days, life doesn’t get any better than this.
Welcome to the Clutha Gold Cycle Trail, where the barren terrain of Central Otago meets the wooded forests and sprawling pastures of hinterland Otago. Another jewel in the crown of the Otago cycleways treasure chest, but with a particular sparkle of its own.
This trail is special. Extending to Waihola now, the trail covers 135km of an ever-changing landscape. From the hills and rocky outcrops of Roxburgh, with the mighty Clutha a constant companion, it extends into rolling countryside farmland and brings you face to face with beautiful Lake Waihola.
Every day you are in a new world of New Zealand rural beauty.
Who can cycle this trail?
Just about everyone. This trail is graded as ‘Easy’, Grade 1 to 2 so with a little bit of training you will have an awesome cycling experience. Of course, there are a few small hills along the way, but nothing your bike gears can’t get you up and over. For the most part, this is a wide, undulating trail – perfect for no stress cruising.
How long does it take?
Typically, this trail takes 2 to 4 days depending on how you want to pace yourself. You can start at either end – there are plenty of stop off and/or collection options to accommodate your preferred plan. There are numerous cycle tour providers who can help you plan an itinerary with bike hire, transport and bag transfer options, that’ll be perfect for you or your group.
What are the trail’s highlights?
Where do we start? This trail has a bit of everything.
Here are a couple of the really cool things to see and do.
The Clutha River – Mata-Au. The second longest river in New Zealand but the largest by volume and also the swiftest (We do not recommend swimming in this river!). It’s known for its scenery, gold rush history, and swift turquoise waters. You’ll be riding alongside this amazing river as you travel south and by the time you reach Beaumont, you’ll be old friends.
Tunnels -There is nothing like cycling through an old train tunnel.
Leaving the bright, warmth and entering the cool darkness into a cathedral-like space. Immediately awe-inspiring, solemn, and silent. The light at the end of the tunnel will take on a new meaning for you. This trail has 3 amazing tunnel experiences – 1 tunnel is 150meters and two are over 400meters long.
The New Trail Extension
From October 2023, the trail continues past Lawrence all the way to Waihola. This new part of the trail offers even more variety including.
- 1.6kms of boardwalk traversing lakeside wetlands - An awesome, immersive way to cycle amongst a protected natural environment.
- Two suspension bridges (Toko East and Toko West) both at 42 meters long make for a fun variation to the earth track. You’ll be riding high with a new viewpoint on the trail. Just another contrast offered by this trail that makes the ride so interesting.
Food and Refreshments
(We recommend phoning ahead to make sure cafés and restaurants are open, especially for evening dining)
There are a number of food and refreshment options available in Roxburgh, including the famous Jimmy’s Pies (Not open on weekends). Check out options here Roxburgh dining,
The only food and refreshment option here is the Millers Flat Tavern across the big blue bridge. A great rural, kiwi pub experience. Ph 03 4466025 or 027 7667828
The Beaumont Hotel offers the only food and refreshment option available at Beaumont. This cosy hotel is rich in local history. Situated in the heart of hunting country, the hotel walls are adorned with taxidermy deer, wild boar and even a trout trophy. It would definitely pay to book ahead for evening dining. Ph 03 4859431
There are a number of food and refreshment options available in Lawrence. Check out this link for more information.
Waitahuna Station Coffee Cart
This cute pop-up coffee cart is situated beside the historic Waitahuna Railway Station. With a great selection of food and drinks, it is an idyllic spot to stop to rest and refresh or catch up with friends. The old railway goods shed refurbishment is on track for completion soon which will mean a more permanent spot for the café and a small museum. From October 2023 the café is open weekends 9am to 3pm, weather permitting. It will possibly open other days as the season progresses.
There are a number of food and refreshment options available in Milton. Check out options here Restaurants in Milton
There a small number of food and refreshment options available in Waihola, including the famous Waihola Fish and Chip shop (Waihola Fresh Fish Supply). What’s famous about this place you might ask? Well, it’s the fish. This shop doesn’t just make the best fish and chips, they also sell fresh and frozen fish, so these guys know their seafood. You’ll get the freshest, top-quality fish in crispy, light batter. The chips are pretty awesome too. Open every day from 10am to 8.00pm. Ph 03 417 8630
Just around the corner from the village centre is the beautiful lake picnic area which is perfect to indulge in your meal and soak in the lakeside vibes.
Other Important Information
(The Serious Stuff)
There’re a few things to be aware of to make sure you not only have a fantastic ride, but you stay safe along the way.
Road Crossings - From Roxburgh to Lawerence, parts of the trail run alongside State Highway 8 and from time to time the trail crosses the highway. Road crossings should be treated with extreme caution – this is a busy 100km highway so take your time! We strongly recommend you stick to the trail and don’t cycle on the road – the highway is not designed to accommodate cyclists.
Trail Closed Signs – If the signs say the trail is closed, please don’t go off-piste to get around the closed section. If you encounter an unexpected, closed section, you should contact your cycle trail provider, a local information centre, or the trail manager, to work out what your next safe move is.
Making a Contribution / Donation
It is our vision that all trail users will contribute to maintenance and on-going enhancements of the trail, helping ensure this experience is available for future generations… read more