The well formed, undulating Upper Clutha River and Newcastle tracks allow for great riverside 'loop' adventures, whether by foot or mountain bike. The views are incredible all times of year, and the river makes a great (albeit cold!) place to take a dip on a hot day.

The Upper Clutha River track and Newcastle track can be joined to form a great ~28km loop that I highly recommend as a long run or a fun mountain bike ride. I suggest parking at the Hawea River swing bridge in Albert Town and starting off by going over the swing bridge to pick up the signposted Newcastle Track that follows the true left of the river. It will be a righthand turn off the main track once you cross the swing bridge, so make sure not to miss it! It heads uphill briefly before meandering past a little lagoon and up some dry scruffy terrain. After a few kilometers the track comes upon the Clutha and for the rest of its length it weaves alongside the river's true left. The Newcastle track is 12km long and ends at Kane Road near the Luggate Bridge.

To pick up the Upper Clutha River track, turn right onto Kane Road, and cross over the Clutha via the red bridge. Then take the first right after crossing the bridge onto Shortcut Road, where you will see a signposted trailhead on the right side of the road for the Upper Clutha River track. It's approximately 16km along the undulating Upper Clutha River track from the Shortcut Road carpark back to Albert Town. You'll pass by a few benches that make great picnic stops, and if you're lucky you'll come upon a perfectly placed hammock that makes for a great mid-adventure siesta spot in the shade. There's also good river access in case you want to cool off with a swim.

It's possible to start this loop adventure by parking at the Kane Road or Shortcut Road carparks near the Luggate Bridge, but I highly suggest parking by the Hawea River swing bridge since the Albert Town pub and store (with ice cream!) are conveniently nearby for a post-adventure treat. And there's also better river access for a post-adventure dip....

Check out these links for more info on the and the .

Pack List

  • Hiking shoes
  • Mountain bike
  • Water
  • Snacks
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RT Distance 17.4 Miles
Activities Mountain Biking, Running, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Swimming Hole

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Hike Lake Wanaka and Photograph the Famous Tree

To begin this hike park in the lakeside lot on the west edge of town and begin walking counter-clockwise around Lake Wanaka.

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Hike along Wanaka's Waterfall Creek Track

The Waterfall Creek Track is a well-formed track without any major undulations that can be enjoyed by foot or bike.

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Hike or Bike the Glendhu Bay Track

This walk can also be started from the waterfront in Wanaka, which is only a few km from the track start above.  From the car park, follow the track along the lake north.

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