Archives For Bike

February is Bike Wise month and to celebrate Fiordland Biodiversity Ranger Chrissy Wickes tells us about her recent trip biking the Roxburgh Gorge and Clutha Gold Trail.

Chrissy Wickes.

Chrissy Wickes

Having biked the Central Otago cycleway with my partner and son we were looking for another great cycle route in the Central Otago area.

We found a real gem, the Roxburgh Gorge and the Clutha Gold Trail and we headed off in January on a three day journey.

As we were doing it as a family we took our time doing 20-25 kilometres a day, and taking all day to do it! Why not!

Clutha river and cycle track between Roxburgh and Alexandra.

Schist country between Roxburgh and Alexandra

Starting at Alexandra we headed off on a fabulous purpose built bike trail. There is something so special about being able to bike free of traffic in an amazing gorge in the remote heartland of Central Otago schist country.

Biking the Roxburgh Gorge.

Following the Clutha/Mata-Au River

After the first 10 kilometres we met up with a jet boat (pre-arranged) that took us about 12 kilometres through the gorge to meet up with the trail again. This was a great luxury and currently the only way to do the trail without doubling back.

Chrissy's son Shannon in front of the jet boat.

Catching the jet boat

There was lots of history to learn about along the way, with old miners cottages made from the local stone. We stayed just out of Roxburgh the first night and headed off to Millers Flat the second day.

Millers flat is a charming settlement on the south side of the river — friendly and peaceful with plenty of history.

The third day got us back to Roxburgh, where the obliging owner of our first night’s accommodation had organised for our car to be relocated to. The people we met were amazingly friendly.

Cycling the Clutha Gold Trail.

Clutha Gold Trail between Millers Flat and Roxburgh

The gorge was our highlight. It was beautiful following the cool blue Clutha/Mata-au River all the way amongst the dry brown rocky landscape. I would choose your weather wisely it can be excessively hot in summer and extremely cold out of summer. It is also remote so you need to be prepared.

Rob Griffiths, a ranger based in the Rotorua Lakes Area Office, takes us along the newly developed mountain bike loop in the Rainbow Mountain Scenic Reserve.

Recent upgrades to tracks and new developments in the Rainbow Mountain Scenic Reserve near Rotorua have created a fantastic mountain bike loop in an amazing geothermal setting.

DOC Ranger Rob Griffiths on the Rainbow Mountain Loop. Photo: Alan Ofsoski.

DOC Ranger Rob Griffiths on the Rainbow Mountain Loop

Already this trail is being touted by locals as the best mountain biking in Rotorua outside of the Whakarewarewa Forest. This new trail is sure to soon be on everyone’s to-do list.

It is a well paced ride/walk but it can be kind of a steep ride up to the summit. The incline gives the perfect reason to take multiple stops to catch your breath and take in the beautiful natural environment, geothermal activity and learn a little along the way.

Crater Lake on Rainbow Mountain.

Quick stop to check out the Crater Lake

Catch your breath (again) at the summit as you soak up the amazing views from the summit. The 360 degree view from the top has been described as the best view “this side of Tongariro”. Next up is a fast and fun descent down to Te Ranga, where you can relax in the cascading waters of the geothermal heated stream.

Team on Rainbow Mountain Loop during the Rotorua Bike Festival. Photo: Alan Ofsoski

Checking out the Rainbow Mountain Loop during the Rotorua Bike Festival.

The Australian Mountain Biking magazine gave a glowing endorsement of Rainbow Mountain during their review of the Rotorua Bike Festival in February pointing out the “geothermal steam rising from the flanking forests and coloured cliffs”.

For more information and a map on the new loop check out the Rainbow Mountain mountain bike loop flyer.

View from the top of Rainbow Mountain. Photo: Alan Ofsoski.

View from the top