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Discover Lake Dunstan’s pristine panoramas
Discover the awesome beauty of New Zealand's Lake Dunstan trail on this exhilarating bike tour. Starting from the quaint heritage township of Cromwell, you'll unearth the Otago region's rich gold mining history, early settler heritage, and spellbindingly scenic landscapes. Follow the snaking trail alongside the crystalline waters of Lake Dunstan, the Kawarau River, and the Clutha River, before emerging into the richly historic town of Clyde. You'll then take a boat tour along the waterways your route cycled beside, giving you perspectives on this region’s splendid scenery from both land and water.
Begin your day tour in the historic town of Cromwell. Your guide will pick you up from one of the designated points, set up your bike, and provide safety instructions. From here, you'll pedal through the old town, admiring the 19th century architecture, before emerging into the tranquil atmosphere and glittering waters of Lake Dunstan. Follow the trail as it curves around the lake's edge before crossing Bannockburn Bridge. Stop here to admire the lush views over the Bannockburn vineyards before proceeding to pedal past the vines on the next portion of your route.
After cycling a short while, you'll arrive at Carrick Winery, with the option to park up your bike and stop for a wine flight. Alternatively, continue past verdant landscapes of vineyards and olive groves before reaching Cornish Point. Marvel at the change in landscape as you ride along paths carved into the rocky bluffs, offering dazzling, panoramic views over the landscape below.
Pass the monumental Cairnmuir Slide, a feat of terraced stone face engineering, designed to protect the Clyde Dam downstream from landslides. Cycling onwards, you'll emerge at Cairnmuir Gully, a wide stretch of still water, where a floating cafe offers coffee and snacks to riders in need of a rest.
Make the most of your e-bike as you climb the Cairnmuir Ladder, allowing the bike to take the pressure off pedaling while you admire the meticulously stacked rock walls. When you reach the highest point, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views out over the valley and surrounding hills. Take a moment to admire some of New Zealand's most unspoilt scenery, then embark on an exhilarating downhill ride that crosses the Hugo Suspension Bridge.
You'll then ride a portion of the trail close to lake level, where you’ll experience scintillating switchbacks, superb hand-stacked rock walls, and the historic Halfway Hut Viewpoint. Stop at this reconstructed Depression-era hut where a mining family lived during the early 20th century, hoping to strike gold in Clyde's hills, but which today offers spectacular views over the lake below.
As you ride towards the township of Clyde, you'll be rewarded with spectacular views of the Clyde Dam, an impressive hydro-engineering project built between the 1970s and 90s. Your guide will meet you in Clyde before shuttling you to the Dunstan Explorer for the final experience of your day tour: a boat tour along Lake Dunstan, following the route you cycled but on the lake itself.
Enjoy the reverse experience of seeing the monumental Dunstan Mountains from the teal waters of Lake Dunstan as the conclusion to a truly unforgettable cycling experience. If this day tour leaves you wanting more outdoor experiences in Otago’s spellbinding scenery, take the family-friendly Lake Hawea to Wanaka Bike Tour.
Days Start Finish Daily 9:30 am ~1:30 pm
Please arrive for the tour 20 minutes before departure time.
We do not recommend bringing riders under 15 years old on this experience. At times there are narrow trails with steep drops alongside. All riders should be confident and safe riders.
Cromwell, Lake Dunstan, Kawarau River, Clutha River, Clyde
- E-bike and helmet rental
- Pickups and dropoffs from Wanaka through to Cromwell for each participant
Meeting place & directions
Meet in Cromwell at 5 McNulty Inlet, Cromwell 9310 (park next to the Public Toilets)' at 0910hrs
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