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Discover the best hikes in Central Otago


Central Otago is home to some of the best hiking in New Zealand. Take a look at some our favourite hikes in the area!


Bendigo Walks – Cromwell

One of the richest gold-mining areas in New Zealand, the Bendigo area is rich with history, and provides a network of scenic and interesting walks overlooking the peaceful Clutha Valley.
With three main tracks available of different lengths and fitness requirements, take your pick of the trails and explore what was once a buzzing mining region, with ruins and other remnants from between 1863 and the 1930’s when gold mining in the region was in full swing.

150th Anniversary Walk – Alexandra and Clyde

A beautiful Central Otago walk that takes you along the Clutha River between Alexandra and Clyde.
The walking grade is gentle will generally take between 3 and 4 hours (fitness and walking pace dependent) to complete the full 12.8 kilometres. With plenty of beautiful spots to stop and have a picnic lunch or explore the river bank, this track is a great option for families or those looking for a more relaxing walk.
As you make your way along the trail, read about the historic Earnscleugh Tailings – this area was dredged extensively during the gold rush of the 1900’s and you can still see some of the remnants of the gold mining along the track, with a number of artefacts scattered along the river.

Cairnmuir Track – Cromwell

For those on the lookout for something a little more challenging, why not tackle the Cairnmuir Track?
Located between Cromwell and Clyde, this scenic walking track runs for 25.5 kilometres, providing stunning views across the Cromwell region. Choose to either cycle or walk the trail, and consider stopping at one of the wineries at either end of the trail for some well-deserved refreshments!
If the full 25.5 kilometres sounds like a bit too much, enjoy the shorter 6 kilometre walk that makes up the beginning of the longer trail.

Aspiring Hut Walk – Mt Aspiring National Park, Wanaka

A stunning 10 kilometre walk through Mt Aspiring National Park to Aspiring Hut. This walk takes you on a gentle walk through the West Matukituki Valley, crossing numerous streams and offering up some incredible views back down the valley as you slowly rise.
This well-formed track with an excellent 38 bunk hut at the end is a great option for an easy overnight hiking trip in the National Park for those wanting a little more adventure.

Isthmus Peak Track – Lake Hawea

If you’re all about spectacular mountain views, it’s hard to pass up Isthmus Peak Track, located near the Neck at the top of Lake Hawea.
Not for the faint-hearted, this gruelling day walk takes you 16 kilometres (return) up the mountain to reach a height of 1385 metres – but the hard slog is definitely worth it! You will be rewarded at the top with incredible views out over Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka. Be sure you bring a snack for the top to replenish your energy while you enjoy the stunning scenery.

Categories:
- South Island Touring
- Essential Info
- Walking, Hiking & Biking

Written by: Emily Menzies

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