Cycleway Category: Official NZ Cycling Trail
The Roxburgh Gorge Trail provides a spectacular one-day ride from Alexandra to Lake Roxburgh Dam, following the Clutha Mata-au River. The trail offers the opportunity to explore one of the most unique landscapes in New Zealand, and every season offers a different experience.
Starting from Alexandra, riders soon enter the Roxburgh Gorge, with bluffs rising almost 350m on either side of the river at its most dramatic point. Gold-mining history plays a big part in the attraction of this trail, with many remnants to be seen.
The middle section of this trail is currently not accessible by bike, so there is a 12km boat trip down the river before riders continue on their bikes.
The trail ends at the Lake Roxburgh Dam, but on the other side of the river another Great Ride begins – the Clutha Gold Trail. The Roxburgh Gorge Trail also connects with the Otago Central Rail Trail at Alexandra.
Together these three trails provide almost 250km of non-stop Great Riding! The Roxburgh Gorge Trail was officially opened on 24 October 2013.
NOTE: An annual maintenance contribution of $25 per person, or $50 per family, covers the cost of trail maintenance for the use of the Roxburgh Gorge Trail. The fee also covers the use of the Clutha Gold Trail, which follows on from the Roxburgh Gorge Trail.
The trail opens areas of historical signifi cance, with old schist huts built into the rock by Chinese miners and the remains of two small mining settlements.
The chance to explore these well-preserved mining relics within this imposing and inspiring landscape is one of the highlights of the trail.
MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE: Mobile phone coverage is not available in most sections of the Roxburgh Gorge Trail. However, there is coverage between Alexandra and the Narrows.
DRINKING WATER: It is recommended that riders take their own water.
The Central Otago region is a year round destination for mountain bikers. Every season offers a different experience. The region enjoys a a continental climate of temperature extremes.
In late spring the hillsides are covered in purple with flowering wild thyme and in late summer and autumn the celebrated colours of Central Otago contrast with the brilliant blue sky, the dry hillsides and the schist outcrops.
Summers are mainly hot and dry with temperature averaging from 10 – 30+ ̊ C. While it’s mostly T-shirt and shorts weather, it’s a good idea to have an extra lightweight layer to cover up from the sun during the hottest part of the day. The UVI (ultra violet index) is often high making sun hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, and water bottle essential everyday accessories.
Winters are cold and still with temperatures ranging between -6 – 15 ̊ C . Frequent freezing overnight temperatures cast an almost permanent frosty veneer across the land. Snow covers the surrounding hills and mountains for much of the winter and occasionally falls and lies on the trail. Fog can linger but usually clear blue skies break through by mid-morning. The days are short with daylight hours from 8am until 5pm from mid-June until mid July.