Central Otago Activity Highlights
Central Otago is a place where you can relax, indulge and rejuvenate in any season. Bring your passion for adventure and your love of history.
Central Otago Activity Highlights Overview
Originally a region with little vegetation, most of Central Otago's trees are deciduous. Consequently, autumn is a beautiful season around the towns, roadsides and riverbanks. Hire a mountain bike and ride the Alexandra to Clyde Anniversary Walkway, an easy 12 kilometre path linking two historic gold towns.
Each year in March, the Otago Goldfields Trust runs a cavalcade to retrace the pioneer trails through Central Otago. You can join the hundreds of horses and riders, wagons and walkers on this epic journey.
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Otago Central Rail Trail
The Otago Central Rail Trail extends for 150 scenic kilometres across the sub-alpine countryside between Clyde and Middlemarch. The rails, sleepers and loose bedding gravel from the abandoned railway have been removed, leaving a wide and well-formed path.
Free from concerns about passing road traffic, trail users can focus fully on the big-sky rolling landscapes that subtly change at every turn. Another benefit of this trail is that railways use bridges and tunnels to avoid steep inclines. To reflect the current purpose of the trail, all the bridges have been redecked and handrails have been added.
As each section of the original railway was constructed, small towns were built to house the workers. The settlements grew as some families stayed on to work the land or sell their metal, wood and stone working skills to local farmers. Highly talented stonemasons from the railway gangs constructed many attractive, sturdy buildings that proudly remain today. After a day on the trail, these towns offer comfortable accommodation and the chance to plan your next day over a relaxing drink and a hearty meal.
Apricots and More in Roxburgh
Roxburgh grows delicious stone fruit. It also has some of the region's best fishing, swimming, boating and 4WD spots.
- Lake Roxburgh is a great venue for kayaking, jet boating, skiing or just plain sailing
- Hiking tracks come in all shapes and sizes—short, long, steep, flat, wiggly, straight—but they're all interesting and beautiful
- There are mountain biking routes and treks around the valley—contact the Lake Roxburgh Lodge for bike hire
Make Yourself at Home in Alexandra
Once a rich gold dredging town, today Alexandra is a prosperous orcharding town.
- In summer, visit a local fruit orchard—apricots and cherries are a specialty of this region
- In winter, go ice skating on Manorburn Dam—30 hectares of natural ice
- Find your way to Shaky Bridge, a relic of the gold mining days
- Taste the local wines at boutique vineyards
- Hit the hill trails—on foot or on a mountain bike
- The Golden History of Cromwell
- Cromwell was the scene of a gold strike in 1862, today its past has been preserved for you to see
- At Old Cromwell you'll find a collection of reconstructed buildings from Cromwell's past. It's a unique setting for local artisans, cottage industries and special events
- Carrick Station's historic shearing shed built from local stone can be viewed from the Nevis Road near Bannockburn
- Nevis Valley is great for a picnic, fly-fishing or fossicking amongst the many relics
- Embark on an eco Experience on Lake Dunstan. Join an informative, non-impact personalised boat tour of the Bendigo wetlands and experience first-hand the beauty of a natural ecosystem on the edge of Lake Dunstan
Clyde on the Clutha
The historic township of Clyde rests on the banks of the mighty Clutha River.
- Explore the historic gold mining stone stores and museums of Clyde township
- Clyde Dam is New Zealand's third largest hydro power station, an amazing feat of engineering
Hidden in the Hills
Unexpected treasures can be found in Central Otago—you just have to head up the smaller roads.
- The Art Deco town of Ranfurly is going through a revival, since the recent opening of the Otago Central Rail Trail
- Near the tiny township of Naseby you'll find the Museum of Fashion, a collection of couture from the 1960s and 1970s
- The Scottish sport of curling is played regularly on the Maniototo Ice Rink near Naseby
- Seek out St Bathans, a tiny historic gold-mining village with a famous haunted hotel and amazing man-made lakes
Useful Central Otago Links
To help plan your Central Otago holiday choose from the main categories below:
- Central Otago Accommodation
- Central Otago Tours
- Central Otago Attractions and Activities
- Central Otago Transport
- Central Otago Cuisine and Dining
- Central Otago Shopping
- Central Otago Visitor Information
Useful Otago Links
To help plan your Otago holiday choose from the main categories below:
- Otago Accommodation
- Otago Tours
- Otago Attractions and Activities
- Otago Transport
- Otago Cuisine and Dining
- Otago Shopping
- Otago Visitor Information
Send an Otago related E-Postcard to your friends.
Otago Region Information
Key information and facts about the Otago region.
Major activities and attractions in the Otago region.