Day 28: Roxburgh to Alexandra

Sun 19 February 2017

  • Km today: 16
  • Total Km: 474

Clutha Gold Trail

Time to hit the trail again with a walk from Roxburgh up to the dam. After a nice chat with John Kerr I set off once again across the Roxburgh bridge and along the track. A stone memorial marks the spot where in 1862 Young and Woodhouse discovered gold. This was to start the area’s gold rush. The track wound along through the willows and poplars with the Clutha river on my left and stony tailings on the right. There are acres of stony bare ground which is all that remains of the desire to extract gold in the past. For a while the trees changed to pine which smelt wonderful warmed in the morning sun. Further remnants of gold operations lay nearby the trail. There were piles of rocks laid out by prospectors as they used sluce boxes. It would have been very hard work lifting these large rocks up from the river especially in winter. In the middle of the river was the remains of the gold dredge the Kohinoor which sank in 1912. Between 1902 and 1906 it had won 3,358oz (about 95kg) of gold which at todays gold price is NZ$5.8 million – a tidy sum back then. A little further on and there is the remains of another swing bridge, although in a sorry condition compared with the Horseshoe Bend bridge I visited a few days ago.

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The track then followed a road leading up to the dam. I walked onto a small plateau and was greeted by the most delicious aroma – I swear it smelt of apricot jam. There was an orchard grove across the river so possibly it came from there. Then as I was nearing the first dam lookout point there was a couple of yellow plum trees. Barely noticed by passing cars and even cyclists, a walker like me is highly attuned to the prospect of food and I had a good munch through handfuls of fruit. Some pips may have slipped down by mistake as well, oh well never mind. I continued past the turbine house and followed a steep track up and onto the top of the dam which has a road across it. This side is also a boat ramp. Crossing the dam I followed the road up to another lookout for some pics then descended into Lake Roxburgh village for a Devonshire tea at the Lake Roxburgh Lodge. Just after 1300 Barbara arrived and drove me into Alexandra. We did a sort of interview in the car enroute and a photo stop on the Central Otago rail trail once in Alex. The Central App is running a story about my journey. We said our good byes at the holiday park where I will stay for two nights. I had time now to visit the i-Site in Alex and try to arrange the next week which will take me across the Central Otago rail trail to Middlemarch.

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St John Alexandra station

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