Walking and biking track would link to others

The rugged Roxburgh Gorge and Lake Roxburgh. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
The rugged Roxburgh Gorge and Lake Roxburgh. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Construction of a $3 million, 33km walking and cycle track from Alexandra to Roxburgh, which could link to a network of other trails popular with tourists, will be discussed by the Vincent Community Board on Friday.

Central Otago District Council community development manager Mathew Begg has prepared a report, based on a 148-page pre-feasibility document compiled by former council projects manager Matthew Sole, which explores various options for the trail along both sides of Lake Roxburgh down the Roxburgh Gorge and also over the Knobby Range.

The idea of a trail was first mooted in 2006, when the then Alexandra Community Board and the Roxburgh Community Board agreed to jointly fund a $15,000 investigation.

This follows the huge success of the Otago Central Rail Trail (from Middlemarch to Clyde), the popular Clutha River Trail (from Alexandra to Clyde) and the proposed Clutha Gold Trail (from Roxburgh to Lawrence).

The proposed Alexandra-Roxburgh trail through the "unique landscape" of the Roxburgh Gorge would link those tracks.

Central Otago Rail Trail Trust chairwoman Daphne Hull said a new trail could only be good for the community.

"They came to us to talk about when it was first mooted and we have been supportive all the way.

If it helps bring people into the area as much as ours has, that can only be good for the community," she said.

Rod Pierce, chairman of the Clutha Gold Trail Charitable Trust, said the trust was interested in connecting with the other trails.

"Certainly it will also tie in with the Clutha Matau Au walkway. Anything that enhances the whole river trail is beneficial," he said.

In his report Mr Sole says he favours a trail on the "true left" (eastern) bank of the Roxburgh Dam because there were fewer landowners to negotiate with, the "stunning visuals" and fewer weather-related factors which would affect the design of the track.

The Knobbies options had been discounted.

The trail would be at least 2.5m wide and be of a high standard, providing a smooth riding and walking surface.

Operational costs would be limited and it would be unlikely accommodation would be available, as the journey could be easily done in a day.

A single walking track from Alexandra to Doctor's Point already leads to the remains of old Chinese villages built during the gold mining days, but it is only accessible on foot and has some difficult passages.

The report suggests further work on the project would require another $30,000 which would be shared by the Vincent and Roxburgh boards.