Mighty Clutha River Trail

Historically, the Clutha River corridor has provided an access way into the heartland of Otago. Maori Moa-hunters and greenstone traders, and thousands of gold-miners, have followed the 'Maori Track' inland. The Clutha Mata-Au River Parkway Group has envisioned re-establishing this river trail for recreation and tourism, as part of the Parkway Project.

The Mighty Clutha River Trail, 338kms from Lake Wanaka to the Pacific, is in various stages of development. Some sections already exist, while significant linkages are being investigated, planned and built by community trail groups, who are the key to the long-term success of their respective trails. The Parkway Group serves as an umbrella organisation, providing a framework for cooperation, and a vision for a contiguous trail and river park.

The following is a summary of the trail sections:


Lake Wanaka Outlet - Albert Town
Following the first section of the Clutha, this track is popular with both mountain-bikers and walkers. It accesses some of the area’s best fly-fishing and offers beautiful views. Dean's Rapid, near the beginning of the track, marks the beginning of the swift Clutha Mata-Au - New Zealand's largest river.
Status: Open
Length: 2.5 km
Suitable: Walking, biking
Ability Level: All users

Albert Town - Luggate
From Albert Town, this track crosses the Cardona River at 'Pawson's Crossing', traverses the lower slopes of Halliday's Bluff, and follows river escarpments to Reko's Point Conservation Area, where the Upper Clutha Mata-Au negotiates a series of unusually swift ox-bows known as the 'Snake'. Much of this trail affords spectacular views of the river, including views of the distinctive ancient glacial terrace flights - on both sides of the Clutha Mata-Au, that define the river basin. The last leg of the trail follows an escarpment overlooking the 'Pioneer Rapid', before turning toward Luggate and ending at the Shortcut Road carpark. A native restoration project is underway in this area around the carpark and trail.
Status: Open
Local Group: Upper Clutha Tracks Trust
Length: 14.3 km
Suitable: Walking, biking
Ability Level: Average

Luggate - Devil's Nook
A track from the Shortcut Road carpark - near the Luggate Red Bridge, to the Devil's Nook, linking to the Luggate township via the Luggate Creek. This track follows the river terrace to the spectacular Devil's Nook switchback (a remarkably rare river feature). A wooden arch bridge spans the Luggate Creek, near the Devil's Nook eddy, and the track follows the Luggate Creek to the Luggate township providing excellent local access to the popular "Nook". From the Nook, there is access downriver along the public Marginal Strip for those wishing to walk or fish along the river below Luggate.
Status: Open
Local Group: Upper Clutha Tracks Trust
Length: 1.5 km
Suitable: Walking, biking
Ability Level: Average

Devil's Nook - Maori Point
This track will incorporate some original gold-dredge bullock haul tracks cut with pick and shovel around 1900. Some 5 km from the Devil's Nook, at Sandy Point, the track will pass from the Queenstown Lakes District into the Central Otago District.
Status: Investigations in progress
Local Group: Upper Clutha Tracks Trust
Length: 16.5 km
Suitable: Walking, biking
Ability Level: Average

Maori Point - Cromwell
With access at Queensberry, this track will intially follow the Maori Gorge as it turns SE toward the Lindis Crossing (where the Lindis River enters the Clutha). Below the Lindis confluence, the track follows river terraces to the shores of Lake Dunstan (Dunstan Reservoir) en route to Cromwell.
Status: Investigations in progress
Local Group: Upper Clutha Tracks Trust
Length: 32.1 km
Suitable: Walking, biking
Ability Level: Average

Cromwell - Bannockburn
From the shores of Lake Dunstan (Dunstan Reservoir), the track continues along the edge of the water, under the Deadman's Point bridge, beside Old Cromwell, and onward to Bannockburn.
Status: Open
Length: 5 km
Suitable: Walking, biking, wheelchair
Ability Level: All users

Cromwell - Clyde
Along the true right of the Cromwell (Dunstan) Gorge, this track will incorporate parts of the historic Dunstan gold-mining track, although some sections - flooded behind the Clyde dam, will need to be re-built. A route over the steep Cairnmuir already exists, but the new trail will follow the gorge and be suitable for biking.
Status: Investigations in progress
Local Group: Upper Clutha Tracks Trust
Length: 14.6 km
Suitable: Walking, biking
Ability Level: Average

Clyde - Alexandra
This very popular track begins at the Clyde Bridge and passes the Earnscleugh Tailings Historic Reserve en route to the Alexandra Bridge.
Status: Open
Length: 7.5 km
Suitable: Walking, biking, wheelchair
Ability Level: All users

Alexandra - Roxburgh Village
The Roxburgh Gorge Trail follows the true right of the gorge, traversing rugged terrain overlooking one of the most spectacular and remote gorges in Otago. The route incorporates some of the historic gold-mining tracks once used to access mining sites, stone dwellings and gold-dredges.
Status: Opened 24 October 2013
Local Group: Roxburgh Gorge Trail Trust
Length: 34 km
Suitable: Walking, biking
Ability Level: Average

Roxburgh Village - Beaumont
The Clutha Gold Trail starts at the Roxburgh Hydro Village, follows the true left to Beaumont, and then continues to Lawrence. Once beyond Miller's Flat, the trail makes use of the former railway bed. The track passes the Lonely Graves, a notable historic site.
Status: Opened 24 October 2013
Local Group: Clutha Gold Trail Trust
Length: 54 km
Suitable: Walking, biking
Ability Level: Average

Beaumont - Tuapeka Punt
From Beaumont, the trail route follows the true left entering the Rongahere Gorge, the only section of the lower river that still retains its rare mixed beech forest, virtually unchanged in 12,000 years, and a nationally important refuge for threatened native species. The trail route passes Birch Island / Moa Nui Reserve, an ecological 'Noah's Ark' covering seven hectares, which became a protected area under the Conservation Act in 2001. Arriving at the Tuapeka Punt, trail users will cross the river on the historic punt to continue on the true right to Clydevale. There is also a proposal for a loop track linking back to Lawrence along the Tuapeka River.
Status: Investigations in progress
Local Groups: Clutha Gold Trail Trust, Beaumont Residents Group
Length: 26 km
Suitable: Walking, biking
Ability Level: Average

Tuapeka Punt - Clydevale
The trail route crosses via the historic Tuapeka punt to the true right, and continues along narrow alluvial terraces that are almost continuous on the right bank between Tuapeka Mouth and the Pomahaka River – a major tributary beyond Clydevale.
Status: Proposed
Local Group: Pending
Length: 11 km
Suitable: Walking, biking
Ability Level: Average

Clydevale - Balclutha
This section will link with the existing Blair Athol Walkway/Bike Track that begins at Naish Park, Balclutha, on the true right. From Clydevale, the route follows alluvial terraces to the Pomahaka River confluence, after which hard rock downland slopes directly adjoin the river in many places. Just above Balclutha the valley widens again and the river is entrenched in wide terraces formed within bends of the river. The Blair Athol section currently extends 11 km upriver, through bush and gullies with excellent river views. Work is progressing to extend this track to Kaihiku Stream Falls.
Status: Open from Baclutha 11 km, with more in progress. Balance to Clydevale proposed.
Local Group: Blair Athol Walkway and Bike Track Group
Length: 27 km
Suitable: Walking, biking
Ability Level: Average



(Below info to be added)

Balclutha - Kaitangata

Kaitangata - Pacific Ocean (Molyneux Bay)


Download a map of the Mighty Clutha River Trail (1.8MB)

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Mighty Clutha

Clutha River Guardian

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