The liquid volume consumed the night before didn’t deter the anticipated excitement of spending bums on a bike seat ticking off the Lake Dunstan Trail.

Red line indicates the route to be ridden.

It links the townships of Cromwell and Clyde which was the direction we headed after securing the third-bedroom for a night of emptiness.

The fascinating landscapes so characteristic of Central Otago was reshaped from the pioneer days of panning for gold, and then again when the lake was formed. The 55 km of views, just never-ending spectacular.

Cromwell Precinct is worth stopping for a bacon and egg butty.
Nearing the Bannockburn Bridge loop end.
Into the gorge we head.
The elevated platforms jutting out from rock faces are brilliant.

At the Clyde end of the trail is New Zealand’s third largest hydro-dam, the Clyde Dam. This was one of the ‘’Think Big” projects driven by the Muldoon led Government to diversify the economy and drive growth.  Construction started in 1977, the first power was generated in 1992.

Could have done with a plug in during a daunting hump ascending the Cairnmuir Ladder and its 6-degree gradient.  Except, we don’t ride e-bikes.  While the bodies still can, we still ride good old fashioned traditional man-powered frames.  Or in BClaire’s case, woman powered.

Switchbacks gave little relief from the grind so when the brow was reached, we dismantled for a well earnt rest and the bonus, a selfie at the trails highest point trig marker. 

Up the Cairnmuir Ladder with it’s switchbacks.
What has been …
At the highest point on the trail.
Look to the left.
Look to the right.

Elevated platforms jut out from cliff rockfaces on either side of the marker along the trail, so there was some navigation to manoeuvre around on-coming bike traffic.  And the traffic included a heap of older generationals. Mostly on e-bikes.  The ones going in our direction left us sucking up their gravel dust.  Pfft, damn old people entitlement, oh!  Nah, It was inspiring to see and gave us some comfort to dream that we too would have many a day left to rotate the pedal into the nearing death years.

When the dam itself came into view, a second wind got us over and down except we didn’t stop at Clyde, we had to continue on for a further 12 kms following the river track on the southern side of the mighty Clutha River / Mata-Aua River, all the way onto Alexandra. It’s where we had booked a motel for the night, thus allowing us to carry only a change of clothes and our toothbrushes.

And down BClaire goes.
The Clyde Dam is nigh.
The Alexandra Bridge … made it.

An early night beckoned after a local pub meal and hydration top up.  A few marginal aches and pains from weariness.  Notwithstanding, the mind was in focus for the next day was going to be a repeat of this day.

Riding back the Lake Dunstan Trail in reverse.

How hard could that be with experience now under our arses?

Unless …