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Mountain Bike Trail – The Roxburgh Gorge Trail

Home  »  South Island Walks  »  Alexandra  »  Mountain Bike Trail – The Roxburgh Gorge Trail – Walk detail

An easy 10.3k mountain bike ride from Alexandra through the Roxburgh Gorge Trail, it’ll take you about 1.5 hours one way. Find out all about the Roxburgh Gorge Trail here. Stunning photos of the Clutha River.

Quick Facts

        • Location: Central Otago
        • Distance: 10.30 kms
        • Time needed: 1 Hour 30 Minutes one way
        • Difficulty: Easy
        • Wheelchair Access: No
        • Route: One Way
        • Elevation: 200m
        • Wet Feet: No
        • Toilets: Yes
        • Dogs: No
        • Mobile Coverage: No
        • Last Updated: November, 2019
  • Track Highlights

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  • Track Quality

    The cycle track is a very smooth 2.5m wide gravel surface, with marker posts every km. From Alexandra I was cycling down river, which gives you a slight down hill pedal with the one and only small climb at the 5km post. On the return journey it is the reverse, a light uphill pedal most of the way. I did not get off the bike and walk up any of up hill sections on this ride, no I don’t have a battery powered bike, yet. Someone might buy me one for my 70th birthday.

  • Hazards

    The narrows are posted as “ride with caution”, but there was no problem at all, the steel guide rails will stop you from going for an early swim in the Clutha River. The narrows make this section an exciting ride. You should make the Roxburgh Gorge Trail your top priority cycling trip when you arrive in Alexandra.

  • Transport

    Unknown

  • Water

    Unknown

  • Driving Instructions

    Unknown

  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    Unknown

  • Area & Track History

    The Roxburgh Gorge Trail was opened on the 24 October 2013. The Roxburgh Gorge Trail starts from Alexandra township and runs 34 Ks down the mighty Clutha River to Lake Roxburgh Dam. Then after a good nights sleep you can continue on for another 74ks down the just as fantastic, Clutha Gold Trail, but we will leave that for another day. You start off with a 10km section from Alexander to Doctors Point, from Doctors Point you have to jump aboard a jet boat with your bike and cruise the 12km section with a v8 humming in your ears, as well as forking out $99 each. From what I have found out from the locals in Alexandra and Roxburgh, is that the organiser of the Central Otago Rail Trail, a local man, was dictating to the Otago farmers that he is going to do this and they are going to that, hence the Otago farmers told the Central Otago Rail Trail to go take a jump in the Clutha River. After the relaxing 12km jet boat ride you have 12km to peddle to reach Roxburgh Dam. The 21km ride up and down the Roxburgh Gorge Trail was outstanding. I could not believe the people riding past me with there heads down and peddling at top speed. For some people this is a once in a lifetime ride in such a spectacular piece of NZ and you just speed by without a glance. The one way ride is one hour and thirty minutes long. It took me five hours to do the return trip. There is so much to see from 350m cliff made up of gigantic slab of multi coloured rock, to the ever changing colours of the mighty Clutha river. I spent some time looking for that elusive 7kg rainbow trout but all I saw was a tiny hatchling. When you see a pile of rocks stacked better then some bricklayers can do today, go and have a look, you will be surprised to find a 1890 Clutha River studio with built in aircon and a million dollar view. And at the front door is hundreds of acres of organically grown thyme to add to your roast lamb dinner tonight. On the opposite side of the Clutha River you can see the 3-4 hour walking track to Doctors Point as well as the remains of the old pub, two small mining settlements and the water race running along the side of the cliff, all build by hand many years ago.

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

  • Map location of Mountain Bike Trail - The Roxburgh Gorge Trail

    Map of walk

Points of interest along the walk

In the map above, if you zoom in on the walk, you’ll see all the following track points and their location. Each point has photos along with a description about each one.

Point 1: Starting point of the Roxburgh Gorge trail

Make your way to the Alexandra Bridge, which is on the main road to Dunedin, Highway 8. Cross over the bridge. At the very end of the bridge and on your right is the start of the  Roxburgh Gorge Trail. You must cut down to the river and turn to the right and cycle under the Alexandra Bridge and don’t stop till you run out of track.

Point 2: 2 Km mark

This is where the great views of the Clutha River come into view and you break out into the sun and warm up.

Point 3: 5 Km

Before the 5Km, you will cycle over the one and only bridge on the track.  But keep an eye out for a stone wall on your right just above your head. Stop and go have a look at the miners hut.  You will also see a sign for  Butchers Creek, take a note of the distance left to peddle.

This is the only climb on this half of  Roxburgh Gorge Trail that you might change down a gear or two.

Point 4: The Narrows

One hour for us old fellows and 6 Km into the ride you should arrive at the Narrows. Don’t worry about the caution sign, just take a look down to the river and you will see the track below you. Didn’t they make a good job of this section of track.

Point 5: Doctors Point

The next point of interest is the turnoff to Butchers Dam and a 400m climb. From here you can just make out the end of the ride and if you are lucky, the jet boat might be in view. The boat ramp is 200m before the end of the track and the toilet. At the end of the track, walk over to the river by the rock formation and look over the edge, there is a miner’s hut under your feet, you could move in after a little spring cleaning and dusting.

Point 6: Shingle Creek to Roxburgh Dam

From doctors point you need to book and pay the boatman $99 each to get to Shingle Creek. But, the boat man would not do the run with only two passengers, so what we did is drive to Roxburgh Village and do a return trip to Shingle Creek on a very cool June morning. The very interesting ride took us 1 Hour 20 minutes to cover the 11Km.  From Shingle Creek to the Roxburgh Dam carpark is 70% uphill with the toughest climb of 200 Mt, 500 Mt from the carpark, but we did have a cold tailwind to push us along. The track was very good, but we did come across a rock slide on the track but luckily for us it was not on a sharp corner and we had enough time to pull up. What was in abundance on this ride were healthy fat Rabbits just waiting for the pot, we saw not just a couple but close to 100. At shingle Creek there was a tidy little hut, with a fireplace to get out of the rough weather if need be. I would hit the trail again, but this time I would wait till next  summer when it is warmer.

All walks in Alexandra…

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