Beaumont millenium track

This track runs between Millers Flat and Beaumont on the north side of the Clutha River.

This is a great part of the country and easy access from Dunedin for day trips or on the way to Central Otago. To be honest we haven’t walked this track but driven it a few times taking in some shorter walks (the suspension bridge etc) and lunch beside the river. The gravel road provides an easy cycle, walk or drive through the stunning Beaumont Gorge as it follows the beautiful Clutha river.

This 24-km walking or biking track along the edge of the river follows part of the original East Bank Track and the Roxburgh railway line. There are picnic spots and interpretation signs noting sites of historical interest along the way such as the suspension bridge and Lonely Graves at Horseshoe bend. The anonymous grave, probably of an 1860s miner, was provided with a headboard by local man William Rigney, who added the words, ‘Somebody’s darling lies buried here.’ A new headstone, reproducing the words, was put in place in 1903.  William Rigney died in 1912 and was buried next to the earlier grave, his headstone marked with the words ‘The man who buried “Somebody’s Darling”’.

The track starts at the Beaumont Bridge, an important link providing the gateway to Central Otago. The present bridge dates from 1887. It was originally a toll bridge and took three and a half years to build.

At the other end of the track is Millers Flat,  a small town with a population of about 200.

The Clutha River

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Horseshoe Bend Suspension Bridge – there are quite a few photos of this bridge,  as you can probably tell I’m just a bit fascinated with this structure and it’s history. It’s such a quiet and peaceful spot but for the people who lived here a hundred years ago it must have been isolated and difficult at times, made easier with the building of this bridge.

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Constructed in 1913, the timber suspension bridge at Horseshoe Bend was built to replace a wire and chair which until then had been used to transport residents across the Clutha River. Like many 19th century gold mining settlements, the community at Horseshoe Bend was located in a rugged and isolated part of Central Otago.  Separated by the river from the other settlements located along the main road from Lawrence to Alexandra, late 19th and early 20th century Horseshoe Bend residents relied on boats or a chair and wire if they wished to reach important facilities, such as the school at Raes Junction.

After being restored by the Department of Conservation in 2001, the bridge was reopened in 2003 and incorporated into the Teviot Valley Walkway.

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Horseshoe Bend Suspension Bridge

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The beautiful Clutha River

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Big Hill tunnel (440m) is not on the millennium track but close to Beaumont on the Clutha Gold Trail which takes you from Alexandra to Lawrence.  We did a few kilometres of the trail but will go back over the summer and do more.

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One thought on “Beaumont millenium track

  1. Pingback: Beaumont millenium track | offthemainroadnz

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