Historic Lawrence nestles in the rolling hills of the Clutha region, 92km south-west of Dunedin on State Highway 8. During the gold rush and sawmilling eras, the district rattled with the sound of diggers and wagon trains. And the town was an important centre as trade routes were established through the plains, across the Clutha River and on up to Central Otago.

The discovery of gold, at Gabriel’s Gully near Lawrence, by Gabriel Read in May 1861 led to the Central Otago gold rush. Gold was found in Otago before. But this was a true rush. The population of the gold field grew from almost nothing to around 11,500 within a year. Dunedin could only claim half that population at the time.

The Clutha Gold Trail starts from Lawrence and stretches 73 km to Lake Roxburgh. The first 5 km follows the, now disused railway route, through farmlands and on through the old Big Hill rail tunnel (440m) to Beaumont. Experience diverse landscapes, distinct seasons, contrasting colours and genuinely friendly communities.