Roxburgh Gorge Trail | Stories along the trail

Discover another world and immerse yourself in our place and our past as you cycle or walk the Roxburgh Gorge Trail

Alexandra Suspension Bridge 1882

The Alexandra Suspension Bridge 1882 was designed by L.D. Macgeorge, an engineer from the Vincent County. An elaborate design, it featured two majestic masonry piers with repeating arches and ornamentation. You can still see the bridge piers, abutment and anchor block today.

A local builder, Jeremiah Drummey, began building the bridge in 1879 and, after some construction difficulties, it was opened in 1882. For 70 years the bridge was a key link in the road network of the area before it was replaced by the existing highway bridge in 1958.

Doctors Point - Gold Mine Site

Across the river from here is an old gold mine site. In 1877, gold was found on a high terrace above the Clutha Mata-au River at Doctors Point. Evidence of the search for gold still remains, including a series of water races, holding dam and sluicing points. There are also remnants of a blacksmith's oven and tramway nearby.

Near the lake look out for the three well preserved stone huts and further upstream an eel smoking chimney. This is all evidence of a community that once made this isolated and rugged land their home.

Shingle Creek - The Kowhai Tree

Scattered throughout the Gorge, but more so at this end of the trail, is the Kowhai Tree (Sophora microphylla). One of our best known native trees, it is regarded as our unofficial National flower.

This very hardy tree belongs to the legume family and is recognised by its bright yellow flowers that appear in early spring. ONce the flower fades, winged seed pods form, and can take years to germinate into a tangled juvenile and many more years to form proper trees.

Tui and Kereru (native wood pigeons) feast on the flowers, nectar and leaves, but all parts of Kowhai are poisonous to humans.

Roxburgh Dam Lookout - An Engineering Triumph

Damming this treacherous river would have been no easy task. The dam was built over seven years and employed 1400 people with much of the 1.5 million tonnes of concrete poured by hand. It's not surprising this dam was considered an engineering triumph when it was commissioned in 1956.

At 76m high and 360m wide, it is recognised as the largest concrete gravity dam in New Zealand and produces enough electricity for 200,000 homes per year.

Lake Roxburgh only part tames the Clutha Mata-au River as it stretches some 30km towards Alexandra and covers what were two of New Zealand’s largest rapids, the Golden Falls and Molyneux Falls.

To discover more fascinating stories, contact a Central Otago Visitor Centre to arrange your Roxburgh Gorge Trail experience.             

Otago Central Rail Trail
Discover New Zealand's Original Great Ride - The Otago Central Rail Trail is a relaxing 4-5 day ride through big sky landscapes and through historic townships. Read More

Roxburgh Gorge Trail
Explore New Zealand's Grand Canyon - The Roxburgh Gorge Trail is a unique one day experience. Described as 'Another World' this 34km trail includes a unique jet boat transfer. Read More

Clutha Gold Trail
A 73km journey of discovery through a tapestry of diverse landscapes from seductively rugged semi-arid dry lands through to lush green contoured farmlands that follow powerful Clutha Mata Au River. Read More

Cycling & Mountain Biking Trails
Central Otago boasts a diversity of cycling and mountain bike trails that beckon the cyclist to experience the freedom and the joy of getting off the beaten track. Read More

Getting to Central Otago
The Central Otago region is located in the middle of the South Island of New Zealand. A scenic a 1hr drive from Queenstown International Airport and accessible via road from Dunedin & Christchurch airports. Read More

Cycle Hire, Bike Rental & Tours
Central Otago has several specialist cycling operators who offer fully escorted tours or individual itineraries. These businesses can hire cycles and organise luggage transfers, accommodation and transport so you can cycle as much or as little as you choose. Read More

Download or request a Cycle Brochure
Download or request a 16-page colour brochure on cycling in Central Otago, featuring some of the region's key trails and inspiring imagery. Read More
Our Regional Identity - A World of Difference
Our Regional Identity - A World of Difference 'A World of Difference' defines what is uniquely Central Otago as a place and a community. Read More

Central Otago NZ - Through Local Eyes
Central Otago NZ - Through Local Eyes Meet some unique and passionate Central Otago locals and be introduced to their favourite places and activities. Read More

Food & Wine
Food & Wine Central Otago is a place of sheer indulgence – whether it’s fine dining, a casual al-fresco lunch or café culture. You will be spoilt for choice when enjoying local fare and award winning wines at the great selection of cafés, restaurants, cellar doors and country pubs. Read More
site maplegal information | login
evoSuite Tourism Marketing Software | Crafted by SquareCircle