Earnscleugh Tailings

Central Otago District

Earnscleugh Tailings

Earnscleugh Flat was once flat, now it's stacked 20 meters high with tailings produced from the 'Alexandra'. A massive floating factory that ate away at the land like a giant caterpillar on a leaf. The Earnscleugh Tailings Heritage site is a great place for a walk or a mountain bike ride. Lots of old parts of the dredges are on the side of the trail you can check out. There is a full 2-3 hour trail that goes right over and around the tailings, or a quick 20 minutes up to the look out and back.


Access is from Marshall Road, 3 kilometers from Alexandra, off Earnscleugh Road. Walking access is available down the true right of the Fraser River and crossing the foot bridge on 'The River Track'.

Helpful links

New Camera or bust

We woke up to a very hot day in Alexandra. It was Autumn and we wanted a stroll by the mighty Clutha. Like our family style, we just crammed into the car and drove to were we thought we would find adventure. It's not hard when Alexandra is one of those towns I've never really spent much time in. We made it down a little road and to a parking lot at the edge of some willow trees. This only means one thing, we are close to the river. A short walk over some really nice bridges with autumn leaves falling all around us and we saw a sign to the 'Earnscleugh Dredge Tailings Historic Reserve'. Sold!! just like that we follow the new path. It was about 2 minutes in we saw the massive amount of stones piled high like the pyramids of Giza.

Right at the base we found heaps of old dredges and equipment from the old days. Check out the pictures to see some. From here we opted on the lookout walk, as two young kids in the hot hot weather was probably not a great choice. On the way up the rocky piles I saved my kid from failing down, but at the same time I dropped my brand new camera. I would have to say it's the first time I have ever said any bad words around my kids. But hey a lens ain't cheep. I guess it still works, just with a few extra sun flares in the shots. We finally made it to the top and had a long rest as I cooled my head. When I finally snapped back to reality I realized we were standing on a massive pile of rocks over looking a giant rock ocean. A very different view from our usual green rolling hills dotted with little sheep.

Broken but not beaten - Stu