OLD MAN RANGE Symes Road runs off at Fruitlands on SH8, between Alexandra and Roxburgh...
The Old Man Range has nothing higher between it and the South Pole. For cyclists interested in an adrenalin rush, this ride will be unforgettable and the views breathtakingly beautiful, so make sure you pack your camera (and something to eat and drink).
Starting at Fruitlands, 10km towards Roxburgh on SH8, why not do a slight detour before you start the real Central Otago cycle ride and treat yourself to an energy fix at Speargrass Inn. Turn off SH8 and cycle up Symes Road. From here almost immediately you start a 9km granny gear workout uphill. This well-formed 4WD-only road is steep. When you reach the ridge line, turn right and ride approximately another 2.5km towards this natural wonder, a 26.6 metre high rock known as the Obelisk or Kopuwai. Take a moment to catch your breath and marvel at this impressive rock and listen to the awe-inspiring silence – it’s good for the soul.
From here, head towards the transmitter building (the only one for many kilometres) then follow Prospect Track down to the Fraser Dam Road. This rutted and rocky 4WD track gets steeper on the way down, so be prepared for some excitement. But once you’re down on the Earnscleugh flats take a cruisey ride along the river track back to Alexandra. Treat yourself to a well-deserved bite to eat in Alexandra at any one of the local cafés.
Go prepared for any condition at any time in this very exposed part of the world, and check with local Information Centres or cycle stores for updated conditions. The temperature on the Old Man Range is cool year round and is often very windy.
This trail traverses a combination of private land and conservation land so make sure you leave gates as you found them.
Distance: 39 km
Fitness: Advanced / Expert