Day 7 – Cromwell

Saturday, Jan 23 2016

Roxburgh Gorge Trail

It was supposed to rain, but it ended up being a warm day with a bit of wind.

We had decided to hike the Roxburgh Gorge Trail from Alexandra to the Lake Roxburgh Dam, however, Cheryl felt that she had the beginnings of a cold and we decided that I would hike the trail, while she would spend the day taking pictures and engaging in short hikes along the way to the Roxburgh Dam, where we would meet.

We had a simple breakfast of cereal and fruit before we drove to Alexandra for a 9:30 am start.

The trail is 33 km ( 21 mile ) in length through the Roxburgh Gorge, following the Clutha Mata-au river. Starting from Alexandra, the trail enters the Roxburgh Gorge with bluffs rising almost 350 m on either side of the river at its most dramatic point. Gold-mining history plays a big part in the attraction of this trail, with many remnants to be seen.

The middle section of the trail is not accessible, so there is a 12 km, ( 7.5 ), $95, pre-booked boat ride down the river before the trail continues for another 11 km ( 6.5 mile ) to the Dam.

I had booked the boat ride for 12:30 so, I needed to be at the pickup point by 12:15.

The first 10 km of the hike was mostly on flat terrain with very little elevation changes and there was only one section with some serious ” switch-backs ” The views along this section were a contrast of the tree-lined river and the upper barren rock sections.

Some of the old miner’s cabins, if you could call them that, could be seen along the river’s edge. Since there was no wood in this area, the homes were made under rock ledges for roofs and stones piled up for the walls. Nothing fancy.

The trail is designed for bikers and there were a few bicyclists along the way.

I had a leisurely pace while taking pictures along the way and I reached the dock at 12:00 pm. Myself and a bicyclist were the only ones to get picked up and the driver of the boat was very informative about the area along the hike. He stopped frequently to shows us the remnants of the different miner’s homes.

He dropped us off at the dock at the beginning of the next section of the trail around 12:30 pm and I continued on my way to the dam. The upper terrain of the gorge in this area was covered in grass, scrub brush and small trees. The trail started a slow ascent to 350 m ( 1150 ft ) above the water. There were more switch-backs due to the changes in elevation and it was a little longer so it took more effort complete this section of the hike.

I reached the end of the trail at the dam at 3:15 pm. Cheryl met me with the van at the end of the trek and we drove to Clyde for supper at a local restaurant before heading back to Cromwell.

By the time we got back, the concert in the nearby town was over

A New Zealander from Dunedin named Darrin Pryde was visiting one of his friends in a campsite next to ours, and he wanted to add something on my blog so he wrote the following comments:

Donald Trump rules

Darrin Pryde was here 2016. Have a great trip around NZ you are welcome back to our place anytime

Ching ching Speights rules ( along with the All Blacks)

For those of you who don’t know, the ” Ching ching is for the sound of beer glasses during a toast, Speights is a beer and the ” All Blacks ” are the New Zealand back-to-back world rugby champions ( the only team that has ever achieved this accomplishment).

Day 6 – Moeraki to Cromwell

Friday, January 22, 2016

Moeraki to Cromwell

It was a cool morning but the day became warm before long. We left the Moeraki campsite and headed towards Cromwell, but we decided to see if we could get some pictures of the Tawaki penguins near a lighthouse just south of Moeraki. Unfortunately we were delayed in trying to find the location and we got there after 8 am which is when they are usually seen. We did, however, get numerous pictures of sea lions and we saw a dolphin jumping in the bay but we didn’t get a good picture of it. By the time we saw it and tried to take the pictures, it was gone.



As we left the area, we met Sven and Matilda, a couple from Germany who were on an 8 month world tour. She had quit her job and he had taken a sabbatical from his work. They have travelled a lot, including adventures to the area north of Prince Rupert to see grizzly bears and we spent almost 30 minutes discussing their adventures and some of the things they recommended for us to experience in New Zealand.

We continued on our way and started to look for a place to get some diesel fuel because the tank was already on empty. We made it to Palmerston, where we filled up with diesel and stopped for a bite to eat before heading inland towards Cromwell on Highway 85.

As we ventured inland through the foothills, the terrain changed to rolling hills. I was told that there were a lot of sheep in New Zealand but I didn’t realize how many there were. There were many locations where the hillsides were covered in sheep, mostly shorn. I can just imagine that it would bring a tear to a homesick Scotsman’s eye!


Just before we reached Cromwell, we saw this sign with the directions to various towns in New Zealand.


The town of Cromwell is known for its fruit farming and they also have a very nice vineyard and winery in town.


Near the town centre, they have the ” ugly fruit stand ” ( as stated in one of the brochures ) to welcome you.


We found a very nice campsite at a Top 10 Holiday Park and paid to stay for 2 nights. All of the campsites have been very clean and this one was one of the nicest. The campsites in New Zealand have all of the amenities needed for camping; water, electricity, showers, washrooms, coin laundry facilities, kitchens ( with sinks, microwaves, etc ) and lounge areas with TV. To get a site with electricity costs about $34/day. All of the plugs in New Zealand are 220 V and they have a special plug style so we had simple adapters for our electronics. All of the chargers for our electronics ( computers, iPads, cell phones, etc ) can be operated with 110 V AC or 220 V AC, so all we needed was the adapter to all us to plug into the circuits.

When ran a few errands in Cromwell, signed up for a few sight-seeing tours and then had supper in a nice restaurant, before heading to back to the campsite.

There were a lot of people in this campsite and we found out that there was an open-air concert in a nearby town on Saturday afternoon with Huey Lewis and The News, REO Speedwagon & Melissa Etheridge, so there was a lot of activity in the campsite.

The plan for Saturday was to go hiking on a nearby trail.