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.