It is Easter and we have decided to set up for Otago to cycle the Clutha Gold Trail – one of New Zealand’s Great Rides. This is one of 22 Great Rides in NZ – download the App – Search for Great Rides.
First Night Lawrence – It’s Easter – Let’s Stay in a Church!
It is Good Friday – and we are staying in a church – how cool is that!
It has been moved 20 kms on to its present site as part of the Marama Lodge complex.
We booked it on Airbnb for our stay in Lawrence at the start of our first day cycling on the Clutha Gold Trail.
The Church is perfect – the pulpit/lecturn is still in place, with a huge old bible open as if ready to read.
I idly move the open pages to the first Good Friday story. That and the chocolate Easter eggs we have brought are our nods to Easter celebrations this year.
My bag is set out under the pulpit, and I like the juxtaposition – spirituality is a journey for me.
Exploring the unknowns of the inner and outer worlds that we inhabit and which inhabit us. Opening to new experiences and challenges along the way.
Tomorrow it is 22 kms from the outskirts of Lawrence to Beaumont – Grade 2 easy it says, taking 2-3 hours – hopefully there might be coffee there, but we have packed some lunch in cases. Then another 20kms to Millers Flat, same grade and 2 hours. We will time it as we are on electric bikes.
Lawrence to Millers Flat
Showers were predicted today, and so it was – it was raining when we got up, and by the time we left it was still looking like that might be the order of the day.
Our lovely host Marie offered to recruit one of her children and drive our car to Millers Flat. With the weather looking the way it was, we suggested the half way point of Beaumont might be a better option.
So off we went, cycling through Lawrence – thinking to ourselves we should have allowed more time to explore the village, and making a mental note to say longer next time.
The route takes us past the old historic Lawrence China town from gold rush days. The route has some great info boards along the way, all worth stopping and reading about the story of the settlements we were passing through.
The ride to Beaumont is an easy Grade 2 – some ups and downs to give it interest, largely through farm land, some of it following the old train line.
The best part was the long tunnel – a little nerve racking as we could see very little but the pinprick of light at the end. But it was all a very easy riding surface, and as long as you kept to the centre of the tunnel, it was good riding. Glad I had a good light on my bike!
The Beaumont Hotel is a a little past the trail, but a good spot to stop and rest. They offer coffee and hot meals as well as accommodation and clearly the bike trail has been good for business.
I drive the car on to Millers Flat, then ride back towards Beaumont until I meet Cynthia. Beaumont to Millers Flat is a alongside the mighty Clutha river, though it is often hidden from view. There are a few tight turns and steep bits, but it is an interesting ride, and every now and again you get a beautiful view of the river and it’s rapids.
Millers Flat is home to the Faigan’s Cafe everyone raves about on the trail, but unfortunately tomorrow is Easter Sunday, so it is closed :). Dinner is courtesy of the Millers Flat Hotel which is crowded – I have a very satisfying feed of ribs and chips – just the thing after a day in the saddle.
We are staying at at B&B Ashworth Gardens right opposite the cafe in the centre of the village. Alan and Isabel have created a lovely garden oasis and the sound of bellbirds echo through the garden.
Trevor and Mary from Sumner were also staying – they have done 16 of The Great Rides – we have only done 6 so far and are keen to do more.
Electric bikes on this section – all good, though sometime we had to dismount on very steep and sharp corners. Generally I think the electric bikes shaved 15 minutes every two hours off the trip.
Millers Flat to Roxburgh Dam
Gorgeous ride beside the Clutha River today – sometimes beside it, then climbing to the next terrace and overlooking it.
Cynthia had a flat tyre so was on driving duty. She stopped at Pinto’s pond and walked down the track to meet me, before heading off to Roxburgh.
It is Easter Sunday, so the chance of finding someone to help fix the tyre is slim – but joy oh joy we discover Alistair the local chemist in Roxburgh who is open, and hires bikes and yes, despite having his arm in a sling from a biking accident, he would help us fix the tyre. Back wheel of course, electrics in back wheel of course, gears on back wheel…. Cynthia provided an extra pair of hands when needed.
Then down the road to a fabulous little cafe The Store that is bursting at the seams. We take back a coffee and snack for Alastair as a thank you, he did not charge us nearly enough 🙂
Another 10kms along the river and we are at the Roxburgh Dam. We are met by friends from Alexandra, who leave a car there, so that we can do the Roxburgh Gorge trip tomorrow.
The mighty Clutha River drains from three lakes – the Hawea, the Wakapitu and Wanaka. It carries a long of water and is fast flowing, but is interestingly, it is very quiet.
The only sound being when it hits some shallow water and forms rapids. It is a huge but largely silent presence which has left it’s mark on the landscape – lush river terraces growing the fruit for which this region is famous.
The Roxburgh Gorge Trail is stunning!
The rest of the trail is lovely, but this part is STUNNING 10kms along the river from Alexandra to Doctors point where we are met by Lawrence in a jet boat –
REMEMBER – you have to book the trip ahead. $95pp and worth every penny 🙂
There are 8 of us – half with electric bikes. Lawrence is amazing – oozes with stories of the gold mining days, and stops regularly to point out some feature – an old general store, miners shelters in the rocks, and a miners cottage built by the Herons.
Mrs Heron being the only woman who worked the gold in the area.
I hope they never finish the trail, because the boat trip is very special and memorable part of the journey for us.
The next 10 or so kms to the Roxburgh dam is an up and down and zig zag challenge – I am glad I am on an electric bike.
More Cycling in New Zealand Stories from Women Travel NZ
Te Ara Ahi cycle trail – Rotorua connections
Te Ara ahi cycle trail is 48kms long and can be done in 1-2 days, or you can do what we did and use it to access other trails or the city. From our base at Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park we hopped on the trail to Embark on a journey shaped by fire and culture […]More...
Rotorua – cycling the Whakarewarewa Forest Loop
This ride is not for the faint hearted – it says it is Grade 2 with bits of Grade 3, I found it a challenge largely because it is a four hour ride, but there were lots of opportunities to get off the track and head home if it was too much. The Whakarewarewa Forest […]More...
Cycling the Old Coach Road Ohakune
What do you associate with the words ‘old coach road’? Showing my ignorance here, but I didn’t think of cobbles! Lots of cobbles on this old coach road – not the smoothest ride and to think each stone was fashioned and laid by hand – wow! A wonderful historic ride over viaducts and through rainforest […]More...
Cycle Wellington’s Rocky Shoreline
They say you can not beat Wellington on a good day. The heavy morning rain had cleared, the sea was flat, there was little wind. This 35 km ride is flat, on mostly quiet roads. Who would have guessed that so close to the heart of a great city like Wellington would be a coastal […]More...
Te Awa River Ride
Cambridge is a good sized country town 20 minutes from Hamilton metropolis – we are here to see friends and to explore some of the Te Awa River Ride Waikato River Trails we have heard so much about. In between rides, we can explore the galleries, cafēs and antique shops that line the main street. […]More...
Frankton is our base for some Queenstown Cycleways
Cycling Trip March 2022 Otago Queenstown Part 3 Queenstown is not my favourite place – but it is in one of the most beautiful locations in New Zealand. The secret is stay in – Arrowtown, or Frankton or Lake Hayes. All of these have an amazing network of hundreds of kilometres of cycle trails linking […]More...
Lake Dunstan Trail
Cycling Trip March 2022 Otago Queenstown Part 2 Last year we did the Pisa Landing to Bannockburn part of the trail a week before the rest of the trail opened. So this year we are back to do the real thing – it seems about 500 other people have the same idea. Bannockburn Bridge is […]More...
Rakiura – Land of the Glowing Skies
Rakiura is the third main island of New Zealand – at the bottom of the South Island. An invitation to step back in time, to an ancient landscape where the forest and its wildlife is reclaiming the land and the 400 residents are largely left to hug the shoreline of the island’s eastern bays. It […]More...
On the Coastal Pacific to Blenheim for the weekend
Waiharakeke is the name for Blenheim and we have decided to do an overnight mid winter trip on the Coastal Pacific Train and take our ebikes. Loading our bikes on the train in Christchurch at 6.30am in the middle of winter was a stretch for this normally late riser. (You can leave your car at the […]More...
Cycle Trails around Arrowtown – Magic to visit in Autumn
I am told Central Otago has weathered the Covid storm well, with strong support from kiwis who are thriving on exploring their own backyard. Campervans and caravans have been flying out the door. Out of school holidays, it is often the ‘Grey Nomads’ who are out and about, with electric bikes and the cycleways of […]More...
10 Must dos in Te Anau – first stay longer
As the gateway to the New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, Te Anau is somewhere people usually pass through on their way to Milford Sound, or to do the Milford or Kepler Track. As part of our Covid driven local explorations, we have decided to stay four nights and explore. As we have started to find […]More...
Peel Forest – Ancient and Accessible Legacy
Peel Forest is somewhere we had talked about staying some time, now we have a caravan to aid our exploring of New Zealand. We have finally carved out some time for a visit. Peel Forest is at the foot of the Southern Alps – 23 kms north of Geraldine in South Canterbury, 140 kms from […]More...
Cycling in Oamaru
We carry our Moustache electric bikes upfront on our caravan and we are keen to use them as much as possible. We decided to do do the last day of the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail – Duntroon to Oamaru. We drove to Duntroon and left the car there to be picked up tomorrow. Rail […]More...
Secrets of North Canterbury – Camping at Gore Bay
In the end it was the Bellbirds that called us – they were cavorting noisily in the pohutukawa trees out to the corner of the flat paddock which was the Buxton campground at Gore Bay. Easy choice for our first night in our new caravan. The second campground was nearer the swimming end of the […]More...
Ruby Bay, Mapua and Cycling the Spooner Tunnel
Mapua and nearby Ruby Bay are favourite spots for us, and so after our stay at Elaine Bay in the Marlborough Sounds, we head drove to the Nelson area for a few days. I am sure Nelson city is a nice place, but getting through it and out the other side is not straightforward, and […]More...
Elaine Bay in the Marlborough Sounds
Perhaps as the crow flys it is not a long way, but once we turned off after Pelorus Bridge (great coffee, food and walks there) in the Rai Valley the road narrowed and snaked out along the ridge lines, we slowed down and were very grateful that we were not towing our new caravan – this […]More...
Kimi Ora – an Eco Resort
Just before the Abel Tasman National Park at the top of the South Island of New Zealand is a popular beach – Kaiteretere. And nestled into the bush above the beach is a hidden Gem – The Kimi Ora Eco Resort. We have the rare treat of staying in the Yurt at this Resort – […]More...
Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail – Diary of a Support Driver
The Alps to Ocean Cycle trail is a 4-6 day ride from Mt Cook (necessitating ahelicopter ride) or Tekapo. Six of us are heading off to start it, and I have volunteered to be the support vehicle, with my electric bike on the back, I plan to do a bit of the trail along the […]More...
Accommodation on the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail
This summer I was the support vehicle for a group of friends doing the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail. I took my electric bike along and joined in for some of the best parts of the trail – you can read about it here. This fantastic 300 km ride goes from Aoraki Mt Cook (or […]More...
Explore Devonport by Bicycle
Devonport Devonport is a short (15 minute) ferry ride from Downtown Auckland. It is a beautiful older established area of Auckland, cut off from development until the Harbour Bridge was build. Devonport forms a peninsula – on one side you see Auckland city and there are boats safely at anchor, on the other a string of […]More...
Blenheim – a great biking town
We are staying in a cabin at the Top 10 Holiday Park on the edge of Blenheim, central, clean and friendly. This is definitely a great biking town We have brought our bikes along, but we could have hired them here or several of the bike shops in town. We quickly discover the trails beside […]More...
Kumara – A Warm Welcome at The Cyclist’s Rest
Our host Mandi used to live in Christchurch, but she is now a West Coaster through and through. They built their home here on the outskirts of Kumara 14 years ago, and the West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail runs past their property. So they have renovated some of the buildings and made room for the […]More...
Cycle Free on the Auckland Waterfront
The Auckland waterfront has undergone huge changes in the post 20 years, as it has shifted from being the working hub of the city. And what better way to see it than a new free bike hire service. I tried it last week and it is fantastic. You can hire the bikes for 2 hours […]More...
Cycling Mapua and the Tasman Great Taste Cycleway
We are on our way to the Abel Tasman National Park, but we have some time to spare, so I googled Mapua cycle hire and found offers for cycling – you could combine a cycle hire with a ferry to Rabbit Island which sounds a perfect way to spend the day.More...
Cycling the Hauraki Rail Trail
At the foot of the Coromandel Ranges is what is touted as the “Easiest riding Trail in New Zealand” You can do some of it, or all of it – up to three days leisurely riding. An easy drive from Tauranga, Hamilton or Auckland, the 82 km trail is accessed at Thames, Paeroa, Te Aroha, […]More...
Exploring the Waikato – My top Six Picks
Hamilton is the centre of the Waikato region of the North Island of New Zealand. The connecting thread in this area is the mighty Waikato River and Tainui – the Maori who belong to this land. I am living here at present, so I am getting the chance to explore the area. While it is […]More...
Winter on the Central Otago Rail Trail
Women’s Adventures NZ organised this tour Over Queen’s birthday weekend – June 2012 Auckland based Debbie Goldingham writes of her trip with 8 other women on the Otago Rail Trail. We all met at Queenstown airport and were picked up in a shuttle van by Steve from Shebikeshebikes and taken to our accommodation in Clyde. […]More...
The Otago Rail Trail
May the Wind be Always at your back…. Take 5 people, average age 62, average fitness , 5 bikes and a old railway line. Mix in the classic gold and barren landscape of central Otago, some country pubs and mellow autumn sun, and you are in for a great ride – The Otago Rail Trail. […]More...
Leave a Reply