By Chrissy Wickes, Ranger – Biodiversity in Te Anau
It’s that time of the year when the world turns bright orange and yellow.
My son Shannon enjoying some autumn riding near the Clutha River
A perfect occasion to put on your helmet and explore the brilliant bike trails in all their autumn glory while it lasts.
There are many trails in the Wanaka area that are golden with fallen leaves. A favourite of mine is the Upper Clutha River track, this follows the Clutha River all the way from the Wanaka lake outlet, under the Albert town bridge and on to Luggate. This track is classified as “intermediate” for mountain bikers.
The golden leaves of autumn
You can go as far as you want, lie amongst the autumn leaves, or just take a picnic and sit on the banks of the impressive Mata-Au/Clutha River. The entire track is 21.5 km long, one way.
On the other side of the river are two other great tracks; the Newcastle and Deans Bank for a slightly more challenging ride. These trails were made possible through the partnership of the Upper Clutha Tracks Trust, Bike Wanaka and DOC.
Shannon amongst the gold and red leaves of autumn
So what are you waiting for? Go plan your ride on the DOC website and find out more information about some fantastic tracks in your area.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.