The 55-kilometre Lake Dunstan Trail linking Clyde and Cromwell has earned an early reputation as a world-class trail and is poised to become a major drawcard for visitors from both New Zealand and overseas.
Central Otago Queenstown Trail Network Trust spokesperson Janeen Wood says the response to the first 30-kilometre section from Smith’s Way to Cornish Point, which opened in early 2020, has been outstanding.
The final stage from Cornish Point to Clyde, was completed at the end of March this year, and includes some exceptional features.
“The trail provides wonderful riding around sweeping corners across 450 metres of handmade bespoke bridges bolted on to rockfaces on eight sites,” says Janeen. “There are switchbacks and climbs to approximately 100 metres above lake water level but they are an easy gradient and safety fences have been installed at appropriate places.”
The trail takes in spectacular views of Lake Dunstan and the Clyde Dam and the area is steeped in Māori,mining and farming history in a landscape which has wide appeal for cyclists and walkers who want to take advantage of the open spaces between Clyde and Cromwell.
The Lake Dunstan Trail is the first stage of a proposed 500-kilometre network of trails in the region.
“Plans are currently in the consenting stage for a trail through the Kawarau Gorge which will connect Gibbston Valley and Queenstown to Bannockburn and on to Clyde. A further link with Wanaka is in the discussion phase with landowners,” says Janeen.
“Once all the trails are complete it will mean visitors to the region can stay longer, ride different places and experience a variety of trails which are unique and individual. It also means people can come back and ride different parts of the trail network at different times of the year. Locals are also enjoying the health and social benefits of getting out and walking and cycling on these trails.”
The opening of the Lake Dunstan Trail is a milestone for recreational cyclists and walkers and Janeen says it can only enhance Cromwell and Clyde’s place on the tourist map.
“There are many opportunities for both towns to embrace the arrival of trail visitors and add to their experience and desire to stay in Central Otago.”