Central Otago is well endowed with open spaces and natural landscapes accessible for both walking and mountain biking. Council is responsible for maintaining a number of tracks and trails in the district, these include:
Bannockburn to Cromwell Walkway
This 5km track runs along the western bank of Bannockburn Inlet from Old Cromwell, past the Cromwell oxidisation ponds to the Bannockburn Bridge. The track was built by the Cromwell and Districts Promotion Group and is managed by Council. This track has been extended to the Kawarau Gorge.
The track is well maintained and of undulating terrain suitable for fit persons only. In some parts the surface deteriorates into sand so sturdy footwear is required.
Cromwell to Pisa Moorings
This 10km track runs along the edge of Lake Dunstan from Cromwell to Pisa Moorings.
The track was built by the Cromwell and District Promotions Group and is maintained by them. The track is over undulating terrain and parts of the surface can deteriorate in softer areas. The trail is delineated by track markers.
Kamaka Walkway, Alexandra
Upgraded in 2013 by the Keep Alexandra and Clyde Beautiful (KACB) group this popular walking track links lower Bridge Hill to Kamaka Crescent. The 400m track starts half way up the first section of Aronui Road on the left hand side. From here it takes walkers along a public accessway then climbs up a pleasant gully (with some steps) to Kamaka Crescent. At the top walkers can choose to continue their walk along Kamaka Crescent and into Jolendale Park and beyond. In spring and autumn it is not unusual to hear bellbirds along this route.
This track is now maintained as a joint initiative of KACB and Council.
Manuherikia River Track (Link Track), Alexandra
Possibly one of the most popular tracks in the Dunstan Basin, the Manuherikia River Track or Link Track as it is also known takes walkers along the very scenic river gorge between the Shaky Bridge and the Old Railway Bridge in Alexandra. While only 500m long walkers have the opportunity to continue their walk up to the iconic Clock on the Hill and beyond. In summer this stretch of river is popular for swimming.
Alexandra-Clyde 150th Anniversary Walk (River Track)
This 11.5km track, which follows the Clutha River on the true right bank between Alexandra and Clyde, was built by the Otago Regional Council in 1998 as part of Otago’s 150th anniversary celebrations. It was then handed over to the Central Otago District Council to maintain and manage. It is a popular track for walkers and cyclists alike. The 1200mm wide track is maintained to a high standard and is of easy gradient suitable for most users with sections suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs. The track stays within 20 metres of the river and mostly in the shade of large willow trees. This is a fantastic walk or bike with the kids for a day out and is especially good in the height of summer when shade is appreciated. There are numerous spots to stop and picnic or just enjoy the ambiance.
From the Alexandra end the track is signposted 300 metres along Earnscleugh Road from SH8. Here there is a car park and information kiosk, the first of several you will see explaining features of the track and landscape. Access is also possible from the Alexandra Bridge along the riverside track. The only exit from the track by vehicle is at Marshall Road, approx. 1-1.5 hours (walking) from the Alexandra end.
The track follows the river upstream through the historic Earnscleugh Tailings, which were extensively dredged in the early 1900s and yielded many tons of gold. There are some artefacts remaining scattered about and these should not be touched as the area is regarded as an ‘outside museum’. The tailings are protected and are on conservation land.
The track ends at the Clyde Bridge from which you can explore the township at Clyde, or make your way back to Alexandra via the Rail Trail or retrace your steps back along the same track and admire the views from a different angle!
Clyde Township Lookout Track
Within a short stroll from the historic precinct of Clyde is this great track with fantastic views of the township and surrounding area. Access is from the Holloway Street Memorial and from here the benched track zigzags up the hillside for about 500 metres. For the average person the walk to the top should take about 5 to 10 minutes and once there you have the option of walking back down or to continue along the hillside and loop back down Sunderland Street.
The following Roxburgh tracks are maintained by the Teviot Valley Walkway Committee, a sub-committee of Roxburgh Community Board.
Commissioner’s Track, Roxburgh
This track is a 30-minute, 1.8km track overlooking the Roxburgh Dam. The land is owned by the dam operating company but an agreement with the Roxburgh Community Board allowed the formation of this interesting route. It features a shaded walk, elevated views, picnic tables, and plenty of schist rocks and trees. It is an easy walk and ideal for a family outing.
Start at the information kiosk located 1km downstream from the dam on the east side. From directly across the road the marked track starts and winds its way gently up through the trees to the first of two spectacular lookouts. High on the rocks, care should be taken and keep children behind the rails. There is interpretation here to fully explain the dam construction and what is now left.
Return the way you came or, for a 1-hour return walk, follow the signage to the Lake View Lookout. This loops back to the car park after rejoining the shorter walk track. One other option is a steeper, more demanding track that leads down the hill and back to the road.
Schist rock bluffs are a feature of this walk and remains of a Chinese miner’s rock shelter will be passed.
Roxburgh Town and River Walk
Gold was discovered in the Teviot River in 1862 and present day Roxburgh grew from there. It has seen boom and bust years and is now settled into the Teviot Valley as a prosperous fruit growing area and visitor destination. It has its own dry, healthy microclimate of warm summers and cool winters; so healthy that there has been a children’s health camp here for many years.
Replete with history, the town has a very pleasant 5km 1.5 hour loop walk that passes interesting historic buildings and wonderful views of the surroundings. This is an easy walk on town footpaths and river reserve track. After a circuit around the interesting old buildings in the township the track follows the river upstream past the current bridge and remains of the previous two. Originally there was a ferry across the river here and this site is seen as well.
Pick up the excellent brochure available at the Information Centre that fully describes the history of all the interesting buildings and sites passed on this track. Start and end at the Information Centre for this historic and scenic tour of Roxburgh.
This is a steep walk following an old pack track up to the Old Man Range behind Roxburgh and the Teviot Valley. Originally used to service gold mining settlements far in the hills it is now a grassed walking track that affords panoramic views over the valley and beyond. The track is 8km, 2 hours to the top where it concludes at a sign post and picnic table. Climbing to here will be well rewarded with the views obtained. This is an exposed track so be prepared for weather changes.
The Bullock Track starts at an information kiosk and car park 3km north of Roxburgh on SH8. It is a right-of-way across private land; stay on the track and leave gates open or shut as you find them. After a short warm up across flat pasture land, the hill begins and shrub land and rougher pasture predominate. There is one sheltered alpine gully and creek that makes a pleasant spot for a break. You will find tracks leading off in different directions once you have reached the end of this walk so further exploring may be done.
Return the way you came or take the longer route and descend the Mt. Hope Road to Coal Creek and return along SH8. This track is steep and rough in places. Good footwear and water is recommended.
Grovers Hill is just to the south of Roxburgh town and a pleasant 1.5 hour, 3.7km track. It loops up to the top of the hill and then around it, following the river back. The high point is the spectacular Frog Rock, where the track ascends to the top of a vertical cliff, affording wonderful views over Roxburgh and the Teviot Valley. Take extreme care and keep well back from the edge!
The track is signposted from Teviot Street and car parking is available at a small reserve. From here the track sharply ascends the hill and yellow markers are followed to lead up to Frog Rock. After admiring the views, pine forest is encountered, with the walk from here gentle and easy. Views from this side of the hill overlook the health camp and Roxburgh golf course.
Once at the end of the forest the track heads left down to the river. There is a short, marked diversion (via right from the main track) to see a miners grave set amongst the trees on the river bank. An easy walk back along the river affords good views up and down the valley.
This track is generally easy but steep and rough in places. Good footwear should be worn.
Horseshoe Bend Track
This track leads to an historic suspension bridge over the Clutha River. The village once here in this gold mining area was known as Rigney and the miners’ children needed to cross the river to get to school. Rather than brave the swift current with a boat, first a wire cage was installed. But when this proved difficult, the bridge you see today was constructed in 1913.
It is remote and can be a wild area but the peacefulness and spectacular river views are well worth the effort getting here. Take care on the bridge but enjoy crossing before returning the same way.
Access is from SH8 through the area known as Island Block. This route has excellent views of the river and recent gold dredge ponds. There is an information kiosk at the other end. Allow 1.5 hours for this return walk.
Other Tracks and Trails
For further information on other track and trail opportunities in Central Otago, you can phone or pop into any of our Central Otago visitor information centres, contact the Department of Conservation or visit Central Otago NZ.