Originally, ‘The Junction’, Lawrence—Otago’s first gold-rush town—was later renamed for Sir Henry Lawrence, famous defender of Lucknow during the 1857 Indian Mutiny.   At the height of its gold fever, Lawrence’s population of 11,500 was double Dunedin’s; it was one of the largest communities in the country.  Today, its population stands at just over 400.  Nestled in the rolling hills of Clutha Country, Lawrence is where the Clutha Gold Trail begins (travelling north) or ends (travelling south).  With a range of dining options, it’s a great place to stop for coffee, lunch or dinner.  A number of restored heritage accommodation options cater for all budgets and tastes.  Shops include a small supermarket and a butchers.  There is free internet access around town, and a free international phone service at the Information Centre and Museum.


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As the hottest, driest and coldest town in New Zealand,  Alexandra is a popular destination for national and international visitors.  Marked by the heat of summer or cold, crisp winter days, Alexandra has four distinct seasons and is a unique place to visit at any time of the year.  Born out of the goldrush era, the town’s history is on display at Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery  (Centennial Avenue).  Enjoy the township's many eateries, wineries, parks and artists' studios; in summer, a swim at the local council pool; and in winter, whirl around the ice skating rink.  Get out into the wide, open spaces by playing a round of golf, boating or swimming in the lake - or fishing for trout.   Explore the hills and valleys by foot, mountainbike or four-wheel drive.

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Historically signficant and exceptionally picturesque, Fruitlands is one of Central Otago’s most photographed places during winter frosts and snow. Originally known as Bald Hill Flat, it was renamed in the early 1900s when an attempt was made to establish orchards there.  However, only one crop of fruit was ever exported and although irrigation was available, the hard winter frosts destroyed most of the trees.  Mitchell's Cottage, on Symes Road, is one of Central Otago's best surviving examples of quality late-19th century stonemasonry.  Dating from the late 1880s - but completed in 1904 - this sturdy structure was built of locally quarried stone by Andrew Mitchell, using techniques learned from his father in the Shetland Islands.  Ten children were raised in the cottage, which is restored in the style of the early 20th century.  Accomodation, coffee and meals are available at the nearby
licensed historic inn.

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Lake Roxburgh Village

The stepping off point for exploring Lake Roxburgh - and accessing the Roxburgh Gorge and Clutha Gold cycle trails - Lake Roxburgh Village is just five kilometres upstream from Roxburgh township, just below the impressive Roxburgh Hydro Dam.  Once occupied by the dam's maintenance workers, the houses are now in private ownership.  Remnants of the main hydro construction village - now the Lost Village - can be found on the eastern side of the river, accessed by foot from the Commissioner's Track.  Accommodation, coffee and meals  are available at the village's licensed lodge.


Built on the back of an 1862 gold discovery, and now with a permanent population of just over 500, Roxburgh—40 kilometres south of Alexandra on State Highway 8—is the Teviot Valley’s main township.  Accessed from the Clutha Gold Trail by bridge, shops include a supermarket, pharmacy, gas station, and a number of excellent cafes, including the famed Jimmy’s Pie shop.  The Roxburgh i-SITE on Scotland Street has loads of ideas about where to stay and what to do, and also books the Roxburgh Gorge jet boat transfer.  The township has a vibrant pip and stone fruit export economy—think apples, pears, apricots, cherries, peaches, nectarines, strawberries and blueberries, so a visit to one of the many local fruit stalls is an absolute must-do.


Ettrick has long been known as a premium apple growing district - it was one of the first places in New Zealand where settlers grew apples. It is home to several registered fruit pack houses, cool stores, a cardboard fruitbox making factory and also a certified organic fruit pack house. Sheep and beef farming predominates on the surrounding hills with a large new dairy farm on the Clutha River flats. The local tearooms, shop and post centre provide a range of convenience foods. Roadside fruit stalls abound. Nearest accommodation is at Roxburgh or Millers Flat.


Millers Flat

Named for Walter Miller, who from 1857 farmed the first great sheep station in the area , Millers Flat (pop. 200)—with its many fishing spots for brown trout and salmon—is located on the banks of the Clutha River.  Trout fishing is also available at Lake Onslow, 18 kilometres from the township, via Tima Burn Road.  Take advantage of the township’s solar-heated outdoor swimming pool (keys available from the holiday park), tennis courts, picnic area and playground, combined café/store, and across the bridge, country tavern.   Approximately 10 kilometres south—and accessible from the Clutha Gold cycle trail or road—is the Horseshoe Bend suspension bridge and the site of the Lonely Graves.


A small junction-settlement 23 kilometres south of Millers Flat, Beaumont straddles the Clutha Mata-au River and State Highway 8.  It’s a paradise for experiencing the area’s great outdoors: fishing, hunting, kayaking, jet boating, walking and biking are all on the settlement’s doorstep.  Annual events include an Easter Clutha River Fishing Competition, a Beaumont Hunting Competition every August, and the Beaumont Valley (motorcycle) Rally.  Remains of disused rail bridges can be seen from the Clutha Gold trail between Millers Flat and Beaumont, and on to Lawrence.  Some sections of the trail utilise the old rail corridor.  Food and accommodation available at the local tavern.


Evans Flat

Approximately 14 kilometres south of Beaumont, it’s hard to believe the open sheep farming country known as Evans Flat was once densely covered with native tussock, matagouri, manuka, and flax. In the late 1800s, it transformed into a bustling gold mining settlement with its own flour and flax mills, a coal pit, three hotels, four stores and a school.  A railway station opened in 1910.  Little evidence of those bustling times remain but the Clutha Gold trail winds its way through Evans Flat's now-pastoral farm land as it approaches its next and final stop, Lawrence.

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Clutha Gold & Roxburgh Gorge

Two of NZ's Great Rides

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