ALEXANDRA TO BUTCHERS POINT Start at Graveyard Gully, below the Clock on the Hill. The trail is mostly in the Lake Roxburgh Gorge.
This single trail is a complete contrast to the willow-lined track heading up the Clutha River to Clyde. Here the cycle trail takes you through a steep rocky gorge, with no other access than the old bridle path, winds down beside what are now the upper reaches of Lake Roxburgh Gorge. This rugged, lonely landscape has an ethereal beauty that envelops you into its own world. Reminders of Central Otago’s rich gold mining past form part of the landscape otherwise you are on your own!
Starting at Graveyard Gully, this trail can be accessed via Little Valley Road off Tarbert Street in Alexandra township. Here you will discover a very modest cemetery surrounded by stacked stone walls where a few early settlers and gold seekers are laid to rest. Following the marked trail past the interpretation board around the back of the orchard, you will head down into the gorge. The first section of the trail is easy but the further you go the tougher it gets!
All the more reason to take a breather and explore the gold mining remnants and ‘Leaky Lodge Hotel’ at Butchers Point before heading back. If you want to be a bit more adventurous and like walking and have the time to explore, why not pack a picnic and walk on to Doctors Point – it’s another 6km (12km return) and this part of the trail is only suitable for walking.
On your return, and if you still have the energy, take the short walk up to the Clock on the Hill admiring the views over Alexandra and surrounds which are particularly stunning in autumn. Amble across the Shaky Bridge, an early suspension bridge over the Manuherikia River, stop for a coffee or something more substantial at one of the delightful cafes in Alexandra as you return home.
This Central Otago cycle trail is full of contrasts: it has a mixture of soft sandy areas and rocky sections and can be very cold in winter and very hot and dry in summer. But no matter the season be prepared!
Distance: 8 km