Day 44 | Hawea to Cromwell

Otago light

Date: 11 March 2024
Grade: 3/4

From Hawea we broke away from the Tour Aotearoa route to follow the Clutha for a while, and to visit friends near Alexandra.

The Hawea River track was our first off-road biking since Ross – 400 km of SH6 with mostly light and considerate traffic.  We let some air out of the tyres for extra grip, softened the suspension and had a 20 km blast on the well-maintained single and double track.

We stopped at the Pembroke Patisserie, Albert Town, for the World’s Best pastry and damn fine Allpress coffee, then took the Upper Clutha Track down the river. The other option is the Newcastle on the north bank. Both are graded 3/4, but having done them previously, we knew that the Newcastle is a bit too sporting for loaded bikes.

South of Luggate, we emerged onto SH8, and found it to be a very different beast from SH6. A narrow shoulder and a headwind didn’t help our mood, but the Otago light on the Pisa Range made enduring and dodging the rather rude and rapid traffic worthwhile.

From Pisa Moorings – a surprisingly attractive lakeside development – the Dunstan Trail, smooth gravel, flat, and wide, hugs the shore for the last 18 km to Cromwell. Our AirBnB turned out to be just across the road from our favourite Cromwell fruit store, Webbs, so we went shopping.

Supplies: Cromwell has everything you could need

Accommodation: An Air BnB that I forgot as soon as I left

These videos are best viewed on a computer screen. Turning your phone sideways helps.


Total distance: 73.75 km
Max elevation: 373 m
Min elevation: 196 m
Total climbing: 935 m
Total descent: -1099 m
Total time: 06:04:14
Download file: day44.gpx

Battery use: 88% | 550Wh The bit of MTBing and a headwind in the last stretch took its toll


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