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Macetown, Otago

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MacetownBeginner - Intermediate

Submitted by James Harcombe

Info Info
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Trail Information







Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Undulating, small hills only

Native bush
Open farmlands

Beginner - Intermediate

4:00 (Slow)
3:00 (Moderate)
2:30 (Fast)



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From the toilet at the Chinese settlement, cross the small creek on the bridge, and head right. Follow the 4WD track towards the Arrow River. When you see the river, look left for the path that leads across the large water pipe. This is the start of the Macetown track, and the Sawpit Gully track. The track follows the pipeline for about a km, at which point, you can head left for Sawpit Gully, or continue traversing before dropping down to the river. The Arrow River is crossed here by a large bridge. Once crossed, head left, upstream, along the obvious 4WD track. This track goes all the way to Macetown, and in warm, dry weather is the most direct route (there are several river crossings along the way!) It's possible to keep your feet dry by keeping to the footpath, which is marked with orange standards. If you take this option, you will need to take care at about the 10.5k -here take the right turn, keeping close to the Arrow River as the left turn at this point leads to Big Hill.

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Features of interest

Furthest point on the run is the historic gold mining town of Macetown. It's worth allowing an extra hour to explore the restored cottages and gold mining history of the area. The distance quoted is the distance to the first of the restored cottages.

Make Up of Run

Moderate Single Track: 10%

Easy Single Track: 5%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 85%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each

Big Hill Circuit

Big Hill Circuit

Length: 20.70km

Motatapu Track - Full Monty

Motatapu Track - Full Monty

Length: 50.00km


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Toilet at the Car Park for the Chinese Settlement.

    Plenty of car parking near start. Public transport available from Queenstown via the Connectabus.

    1 km

    3 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .

    At about 10.5k, there is a small creek crossing, and a branch in the track. The more obvious route is to the left (Big Hill). Do not take this! Follow the flagging tape to the right for Macetown. If it's hot, keeping to the 4WD track, and crossing the river is the easiest route to follow, but misses out on some interesting single track.

    Very patchy.

    Short-sleeved thermal top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries.

    There are plenty of side streams feeding the Arrow River that are safe for drinking.

    A great track for running all year round. The 4WD track is not an option in wet weather, as the Arrow River packs a punch in flood!

    Some of the single track is narrow with very steep drop offs.

  • Post run indulgence

    The Fork And Tap
    Great selection of wine and beer and wholesome pub food!

    Provisions Cafe
    65 Buckingham St., Arrowtown
    Great coffee and food in a classic character building.

  • Sponsor this trail

    If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities, please get in touch below:


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