The Roxburgh Gorge Trail and Clutha Gold Trail
Off-road bike trails around NZ – trails that are not overly technical, that everyone can do – are getting better and better.
Two trails in Central Otago are just stunning, and together take you a good part of the length of the Clutha River.
The surface is well-graded and the rides are nearly as flat as the Otago Central Rail Trail, making these trails ideal for getting off-road with the kids.
But even if you're used to more adventurous riding, here's a chance to explore some new, previously unaccessible terrain that is simply stunning.
Having spent an idyllic few days meandering along these two trails with my bike, stopping in friendly villages, lunching by the rich green waters of the Clutha, I'd happily put a Kidz Go seal of approval on a getaway adventure that you can enjoy for a few hours or a few days.
The Roxburgh Gorge Trail
Tour through exceptional landscape to rival anywhere in New Zealand - the mightly Clutha River's mesmerising green water, the rocky cliffs, covered in thyme with its unmistakeable sweet smell and a trail that while undulating in parts requires no particular riding experience. Look out for the old goldmining ruins and cottage at Doctors Point, and other relics from the goldrush dotted along the Clutha.
Notes: We'd recommend the Roxburgh Gorge Trail for those with older children. Be aware that although the trail is wide, there are steep drop-offs in several sections.
The trail splits into three sections; there is a 10km section from Alexandra to Doctors Point, then 10km of no access except via boat transfer, then a final 12km section from your boat drop-off point at Shingle Creek to Roxburgh Dam.
At the moment boat transfer is $95 per head, and takes around half an hour.
Whilst the boat transfer is all part of the fun, if you don't wish to splash out on this section, you can grab the kids and ride either end of the trail as a half day (or less) ride, departing from either Alexandra or Lake Roxburgh (Roxburgh Dam).
The Clutha Gold Trail
This 73km mostly flat and exceptionally well-graded trail takes you from Roxburgh Dam to Lawrence, and up until Beaumont you're following the shores of the Clutha River. This is easy enough to complete in a day if you're reasonably fit, but as a family outing, we'd recommend either picking a section for a short ride, or staying in some of the friendly accommodation available along the way. The main locations for accommodation are Roxburgh, Millers Flat, Beaumont and Lawrence. If you travel overnight, there are shuttle services available to return you and bikes back to your starting point.
Well worth the short detour (just over 1km) is a visit to the Lonely Graves, where Somebody's Darling is buried. I could say more, but read the story when you get there!