Balclutha to Cromwell

Cycle Trails
  • Balclutha 31st January 2013
After residing once again at The Catlins YHA for nearly two weeks, filling in for Craig and co., I eventually leave Owaka for the final time… we think!
As I’d previously cycled the Owaka-Balclutha road, I wasn’t too keen on covering it again. So on asking Craig, he kindly dropped me off at Balclutha to start the journey back to my brother in Cromwell.
Prepping for departure from Balclutha
Fitting in a quick spot of lunch before departing Balclutha.
I follow the Clutha River towards Alexandra.Balclutha bridge
The road is generally flat, but then like following a railway line, it’ll tend to be!
Craig road
Considering I started out late today, and with it being fairly hot, the temptation for a swim was too great.
Swimming pool Clydevale
I pop my nose into Clydevale’s swimming pool. Only a few people around, and they’re looking to leave. Perfect. A pleasant swim without kids jumping on me!
Camp spot behind swimming pool
To top the day, a nice spot behind the pool on the adjacent school grounds to plonk my tent. Imagine doing this in the UK, I’d probably get arrested for being a vagrant!
Tuapeka Mouth Ferry 1896 est. I did not cross
It’s a shame I’d not taken the adjacent road across the river, then I’d had the pleasure of using the Tuapeka Ferry.
Beaumont Forest
The road is still following the Clutha River while emerging itself into the Rongahere Forest. Would’ve made some great wild camping in there.
Colony spiders
This is a site that was very common in Namibia, colony or social spiders as known here. Some amazing structures built and very strong.
Helmet. It's the law!
New Zealand like Australia has a strict law for the use of helmets. It’ll be a fine straight away if caught not wearing one. I believe the choice should be one’s own.
My view is along the same line as CTC :
The health benefits of cycling are much greater than the (relatively low) risks involved. That even if these measures caused only a very small reduction in cycle use, this would still almost certainly mean far more lives being lost through physical inactivity than helmets could possibly save. However effective they might be.
I wear a helmet though, as there is a risk and I don’t mind. It’s been so long now that not wearing one feels strange. Bit like the seatbelt thing!
Spend the money on a good lid (less weight = comfort), and you’ll forget you’re wearing one. Try plenty of them as each manufacture tends to have a different head model, so fits vary considerably!
My MET Stradivarius was purchased in 2001 and still going strong. I would get a new one, but I’ve yet to find one as comfortable. Don’t try to fix it if it’s not broken!
Start of Beaumont Trail
I arrive at the small village of Beaumont. The bridge is under repair. So a thirty minute wait ensues while work is carried out. Then, a flurry of activity as an interval permits vehicles to cross.
I immediately turn on to the Beaumont Trail.
This is part of the larger Clutha Gold trail. Here are two websites that’ll offer more detail: NZ by Bike and The New Zealand Cycle Trail.
Beaumont Trail
The trail is well looked after, and on a sunny day like this, it’s perfect. But, don’t be fooled, sand flies are still prevalent if standing too long.
Beaumont Trail picnic spot
I’m in no mood to rush this trail, many breaks taken to enjoy the surrounding vistas.
Beaumont Trail cycle
The glacial blue of the river contrasting with the rich green farmland is remarkable.
Clutha River Beaumont Trail
Always something to get one’s attention Potassium Cyanide!
No threat to man as long as you don’t go tampering with it! All about critter control. Well, possums to be exact.
Fight against Possums
This nameless grave at horseshoe bend is a historic site, which has a great little story. 
Lonely graves
On the headstone of William Rigney it says Here lies William Rigney, the man who buried somebody’s darling.
The story has stuck, and the truth shouldn’t get in the way of a good story!
Lonely graves site
The sun truly beating down on, what is certainly the hottest day so far. Love it.
Hot windless day
The end of the Beaumont Track. A glorious trail. I felt like turning around and going back!
On arrival at Millers Flats I stock up at the stores. As I’m heading out, what do I eye? Yes, an outdoor swimming pool.  
Millars Flat
I search out a stealth camping spot for later. Then its strip off and dive in. NZ$5, can’t complain.
Millars Flat War Memorial pool
I think a few locals thought I was setting up camp here, as I’ve a brew on the go.
Stealth camping Millars Flat rugby pitch
Once bathed and watered I go back to my stealth camping hideaway.
Zoom in on the map below and you’ll see my location for the night. Nice large overhanging tree.
Stealth is the key!
Millars Flat bridge
As with any day so far if I manage to get on the road by nine o’clock, I’m happy. Just don’t like rushing these things.
Tea, porridge, another tea. Then, make a move out of the tent for seven’ish. It’ll still take nearly two hours fannying around with packing. OH and more food, fruit, then a coffee. Now I’m ready! It’s about the journey not the destination.
Post bike
An old bike converted into a letter box. Cool.
Brooks saddle
A Brooks saddle lasting time.
Overlooking the town of Roxburgh.
Roxburgh hydro
Further upstream from the main town of Roxburgh is their hydro-dam.
Roxburgh dam
The Roxburgh dam was the first major dam and power station project in the South Island after the Second World War. Construction started in 1949.
Down. Then there's an up!
Once I cross the dam, I’m back onto a major highway. Well, as much as a major highway can be on the South Island!
The road is VeRy hilly and vErY hot, the kilograms will be falling off. If there’s any left!
Weather shelter for school run
Nice to see a more novel thinking behind this children’s school bus shelter or a hobbits house perhaps?
Hot hot day
Every attempt being made to keep the sun off my head and my head legal!
Alexandra Bridge. New & old
My arrival in Alexandra is treated with a fan fare. OK, it wasn’t then! Perhaps another time. But, nice to get off that sun-soaked-hot-road.
Once over the bridge I soon took a left turn, and joined the Otago Central Rail Trail again.
Camp Alexandra Forest
Fortunately, not far to run down the trail until I find a wild/stealth camping spot in pine woods. Only a few hundred metres off the trail.Otago Trail Bridge
The last few kilometres the next day takes me to Cylde and the western end of the trail. Now I’ve visited both ends of the Otago Central Rail Trail. Job Done.Clyde
All is left now is to follow the remaining flow of the Clutha River towards Lake Dunstan and Cromwell.
Alexandra to Cromwell
  • Cromwell 3rd February 2013 – 193 km’s
Wild/stealth camping spots can be viewed when zooming in on each location. Also, click on the icon for a photo and another click will open it up in Flickr


You can click on each photo in this the post for an enhanced Flickr view or the above Flickr slideshow for further photos for this post.


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