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The Great Rides and Cycle Trails of New Zealand

Lake Dunstan Loop Ride

Classic Road Ride

Central Otago, South Island

The Lake Dunstan Ride is a brilliant 90km loop circumnavigating Lake Dunstan and up the mighty Clutha River. Starting in Cromwell head out around the lake in an anti-clockwise direction up State Highway 8 and past the vineyards of Northburn and Bannockburn squeezed between the mountains and the lake. This is a main highway but the hard shoulder is wide and in good condition.

The road follows closely along the shores Lake Dunstan for the first 15km before it starts a long gentle climb for the next 25km or so through scenic farmland. Just a kilometre short of Tarras turn left into Bells Lane which will take you back toward the Clutha River and onto the Luggate - Tarras Rd. At stages along here the tar-seal can be quite rough.

Finally just before a T-junction which marks you turning back toward Cromwell you will reach the pinnacle of your climb having ascended a mere 230km over the last 42km.

At the T-junction turn left at Church Road and down the hill crossing over the Clutha River on the old wooden single land red bridge. This is a great place to stop for an energy snack and to grab a look at the seething Clutha River.

This ride can also be ridden as part of the annual Lake Dunstan Cycle Challenge Event in early January.

From the river it is a short climb back up onto the plateau and through the small town of Luggate heading back toward Cromwell on State Highway 6. Once again although this is a main open road the hard shoulder is wide enough and pretty clean of debris. After the outbound leg which has you climbing the ride back to Cromwell is fast and fun with some long gentle descents that will allow you to really get your bike wound up - especially if there is a strong Northerly wind (often) which would have had you battling a headwind all the way out. The road winds it’s way back down the river with so few climbs that you even register. As Lake Dunstan comes into view so too does Cromwell and in a blink of an eye a great ride is all over. Expect to take between two and a half and four hours for this ride.

Photos

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