NZ Walk/Cycle: Roxburgh Gorge - Cycle and Walking Trail
The Clutha River originally flowed swiftly through the gorge it had carved out over thousands of years. With the advent of European settlement and subsequent exploration, gold was dis- covered in the 1860s. With the building of the Roxburgh hydro dam between 1956 and 1962 the gorge was flooded, drowning, much of the mining history and stopping the mighty river.
Having decided to include the trail on a recent southern sojourn we decided to enlist some help.
Trail Journeys, in Clyde, who is one of a number of operators offering support (including equipment hire, transport shuttles, gear and car transfers, accommodation bookings) was our first port of call.
They arranged for us the connecting jet boat ride and transferred our car to
our accommodation after the ride. When the start point of the journey is not the end point, these logistical difficulties are overcome by using a provider.
The Roxburgh Gorge Trail commences in Alexandra. However there are two trails that provide the link. These are the River Trail and the Clyde to Alexandra section of the Otago Central Rail Trail.
We decided upon the latter, mainly through nostalgia. We had completed the rail trail in its infancy back in the early 2000s.
The ride through to Alexandra was a flat nine kilometers that passes beside farmland, vineyards and orchards.
Sports fields, on the Saturday morning with children playing on the cool autumn morning signaled we had arrived in “Alex”. Time for a morning coffee and brownie we thought. It proved great fuel for the journey ahead.
The Courthouse Café (built in 1876 as the original courthouse) was an early opener and received our business.
With Trail Journey’s instructions still clearly in our minds we navigated through town, crossed the Clutha Bridge and we were on our way riding the first ten kilometers of the trail to Doctor’s Point. At this point, the need for preparation was clearly illustrated.
Less than one kilometer into the trail, a piece of wire pierced the front tyre of Rob’s bike bringing us to a grinding halt.
A number of expletives rang out as I delved into my backpack for the repair kit and bike pump. A quick tube change and re-inflation of the tyre followed. Success! We were on our way again.
The trail is remote, access wise, rather than by distance, with access only by boat or along the trail. Cell phone coverage is mostly impossible. If you were a long way into the ride and experienced bike difficulty, the only prospect would be … a long walk.
The trail itself is wide and the surface is smooth making it a ride suitable for all
Oppoosite page below: the Clutha in Autumn. Above: Here we meet cyclists coming the othr way. Below right: The trail is wide and flat here.