10 Best Walks in Balclutha


Walking and Hiking Trails in Balclutha

The hub of the Clutha district in South Otago, Balclutha makes a great base to get outside and explore the area on foot. You have a variety of landscapes to enjoy along the walks in Balclutha, from walks along the mighty Clutha River to walks to secret beaches. Only a short drive away is the entrance to The Catlins which has a vast array of walking trails itself. See where you could be stretching your legs with this guide to the walking trails in Balclutha.

While you’re here, you might also be interested in 10 Hikes in the Catlins and Clutha District and Mountain Biking in the Catlins and Clutha District.

1. Blair Athol Walkway (1h30mins Return)

Walk or cycle along this riverside walkway following the main feature of Balclutha, the Clutha River. The walk takes you through a varied array of vegetation, including rhododendrons.

Location: Naish Park, Charlotte Street©

2. Lake Tuakitoto (3 Hours Loop)

An easy-gradient loop track follows the perimeter of Lake Tuakitoto. Look out for native birds along the way and enjoy the lake views. The track is 15km (9.3 miles) long and is also open to cyclists.

Location: Lakeside Road, 14.5km (9 miles) east of Balclutha

Grutness at English Wikipedia© Grutness at English Wikipedia

3. Sesquicentennial Track (1h30mins Return)

This coastal walk is an easy-going 1h30mins walk taking you down to a beach. Enjoy expansive views of the coastline and the Pacific Ocean the entire way.

Location: end of Centre Road, Inch Clutha, 17km (10.5 miles) south of Balclutha©

4. Woolshed Valley Track (40 Minutes Return)

A popular track near the town of Milton, the Woolshed Valley Track is a restored track in the Mt Stuart Reserve. The bush walk follows the Tokomairiro River where it’s easy to spot fish swimming. Once you reach Woolshed Valley, return the way you came. Check out more things to do in the area with our 7 Fun Things to Do in Milton.

Location: Signposted off State Highway 8, 29km (18 miles) north of Balclutha

pxhere© pxhere

5. Mt Stuart Tunnel Track (40 Minutes Return)

While you’re in the Mt Stuart area, don’t miss the interesting piece of heritage. Take this easy walk to an abandoned tunnel that was constructed in 1875/76. Although it’s prohibited to enter the tunnel, it is still possible to see glowworms alongside the track.

Location: Rhodes Road, 34km (21 miles) north of Balclutha©

6. McNally Track (3 Hours Return)

Get some height and enjoy the views from this open country hike near Milton. The McNally Track climbs to the crest of a hilltop standing 318m (1043ft) above sea level. The walk is steep so good footwear and fitness are needed. Follow the yellow marker poles and note that the track is closed during the lambing season.

Location: Cemetary Road, Milton, 27km (17 miles) north of Balclutha©

7. Bull Creek Bush Walk (40 Minutes Return)

Walk to a small and picturesque beach on the Bull Creek Bush Walk. This 40-minute return walk goes through the stunning coastal forest until it reaches the unspoiled Bull Creek Beach. The beach is ideal for swimming and picnics.

Location: Russell Road, 45km (28 miles) east of Balclutha

itravelNZ on Flickr© itravelNZ on Flickr

8. Chrystalls Beach to Bull Creek (2 Hours Return)

Take in two of the most stunning beaches in the Balclutha and Milton area on this walkway between Chrystalls Beach and Bull Creek. The walkway is easy to moderate gradient.

Location: Chrystalls Beach Road, 43km (27 miles) east of Balclutha

itravelNZ on Flickr © itravelNZ on Flickr

9. Taieri Millennium Track (4-5 Hours Return)

Travel further north to Waihola and you’ll find a picturesque walk along the Taieri River. The walk over track and boardwalk features native bush and the photo-worthy John Bull Gully. Return along the same way whenever you like to make a shorter walk or walk all the way to the Taieri River mouth.

Location: Taieri Ferry Road, 50km (31 miles) north of Balclutha

Grutness on Wikipedia© Grutness on Wikipedia

10. Nugget Point (10-20 Minutes Return)

Balclutha is also the gateway to the Catlins Coast which boasts an array of walks to waterfalls, lakes, caves and lighthouses. The closest walk to Balclutha is the Nugget Point Lighthouse Track. The easy trail leads to the base of the Nugget Point Lighthouse with a lookout over nugget-like rock formations and a seal colony. See more Catlins attractions in 18 Amazing Attractions You Can’t Miss in The Catlins.

Location: The Nuggets Road, 30km (19 miles) south of Balclutha©


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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