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The Great Rides and Cycle Trails of New Zealand

Roxburgh Gorge Trail

New Zealand Cycle Trail

Central Otago, South Island

Planning on riding the Roxburgh Gorge Trail? Contact us for help in planning your itinerary and booking your trip. More details on jet boat transfers can be found below. 

The 34 km Roxburgh Gorge Cycle Trail starts in Alexandra and follows the Clutha Mata-au River through the Roxburgh Gorge to finish at the Roxburgh Dam. Opened in 2013, the Roxburgh Gorge Cycle Trail gives access to fantastic rock formations, historic stone cottages and sweeping views of the river and lake. It is the shortest of the Great Rides, with just 22 km of trail and a 12 km jet boat ride. It connects up with the Otago Central Rail Trail (from Alex) or to the Clutha Gold Trail at Roxburgh Dam, creating around 250km of fabulous southern cycling.

Because there are no easy access points along the route, and a jet boat section in the middle, there are only three main ways to enjoy the trail. The first two are return journeys; from Alexandra to Doctor's Point and back (20km), or at the other end, from Lake Roxburgh Dam to Shingle Creek and back (24 km). The third option takes in the full route from Alexandra to Roxburgh Dam, jumping on a connecting jetboat in the middle (34 km).

The ride down the river from Alexandra is a complete contrast to the ride up to Clyde. After leaving Alexandra, the ride quickly enters a steep rocky gorge, with no access other than the old bridle path.  At times the gorge rises above cyclists almost 350 metres on either side of the river!

Old Chinese miners' huts, built from local schist rock, are carved into the gorge and cyclists will make their way through two eerily deserted gold mining villages as they wind down beside what are now the upper reaches of Lake Roxburgh.  Riders will experience an immense feeling of loneliness in this rugged landscape that encompasses the visitor, in a timeless state.

After 10 kms of riding, you arrive at Doctors Point jetty where you will board a jet boat. The jet boat cruises 12 kms down the river to Shingle Creek. This jet boat transfer must be organized in advance, with one of two companies operating. As of 2017, the jet boat ride costs $95 pp, including bikes.

After being dropped off at Shingle Creek Jetty you continue down the river for the final 12 km. You will soon meet a steady climb up out of the gorge. Once at the top the trail winds back down towards Lake Roxburgh, by which time the steep rock walls of the gorge have given way to farm land, and the swirling currents of the river ease into the still waters of the Lake Roxburgh. The trail ends just shy of Lake Roxburgh Village, where you can head for a meal, or if continuing on along the Clutha Gold Trail, cross the dam to the other side of the river.

As well as connecting to two other Great Rides, the Roxburgh Gorge Trail is also part of the Mighty Clutha River Trail which, once finished, will run for 33 kilometers south-east from Lake Wanaka to the Pacific Ocean!

Roxburgh Gorge Jet Boat Transfers

Due to the remote location bookings are essential and can be made by following this link. There are set departure times (in season) from Doctors Point jetty and Shingle Creek jetty - these times can be found below. The cost is $95 per person - minimum of two and max of 10 people (with bikes).

Doctors Point (Alexandra End) Shingle Creek (Roxburgh End)
10:00 AM
10:45 AM
11:30 AM
12:15 PM
1:00 PM
1:45 PM
2:30 PM
3:15 PM
4:00 PM
4:45 PM

 

Photos

  • Roxburgh Gorge