On Christmas Day 2022 we decided to chase the best of the weather and head out to Alexandra for the first time in years, doing a circuit walk in Flat Top Hill Conservation Area. It’s a unique rocky and arid landscape punctuated by the aqua colour of the dammed Clutha River in Roxburgh Gorge. You can do a roughly 13km circuit as we did, but a shorter version following just the Basin View Track is enough to see the best scenery in the area.
The vegetation on offer is mostly introduced weeds such as wild thyme (quite aromatic) so this is not an authentic Central Otago experience. DOC is trying to re-introduce native plants but it will be a long time coming. All in all though, an interesting walk that offers somethings different for those used to the scenery around Queenstown. Track notes at the end.
Flat Top Hill Circuit: The Scenery
We walked this route clockwise from Butchers Dam. It’s on a track or at least poled route the whole way. You can shorten the walk by taking the Basin View Track for the return leg, missing out the Flat Top Track section. And there are various other options for walkers and mountain bikers in the conservation area – have a look at the DOC site for more information.