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Central Otago, New ZealandCentral Otago Activity Highlights

Central Otago | Regional Information | Activity Highlights | Scenic Highlights | History

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.

» Central Otago Attractions Directory

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Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Kayaking in Central Otago, New Zealand
Kayaking, Central Otago
New Zealand
Photographer: David Wall
(www.davidWallPhoto.com)

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.

Read more about the Central Otago Rail Trail or find Central Otago rail trail accommodation.

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

Read more about the Lake Roxburgh Dam start planning your Roxburgh holiday or find accommodation in Roxburgh.

Make Yourself at Home in Alexandra

Once a rich gold dredging town, today Alexandra is a prosperous orcharding town.

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Vineyard in Central Otago, New Zealand
Vineyard, Central Otago
New Zealand
Photographer: David Wall
(www.davidWallPhoto.com)
  • 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

Plan your Alexandra holiday or find accommodation in Alexandra.

Clyde on the Clutha

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Gliding over Lake Benmore, Central Otago, New Zealand
Gliding over Lake Benmore
New Zealand
Photographer: NZ Gliding Grand Prix
(www.gp06.com)

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

Read more about Clyde or plan your holiday in Clyde or find accommodation in Clyde.

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:

Useful Otago Links

To help plan your Otago holiday choose from the main categories below:

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Otago Region Information

Otago Tourism Operators

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Featured

 
Mainstay New Zealand Hotels

Mainstay NZ Hotels

Large collection of independent hotels.

Choice Hotels

Choice Hotels

Holiday packages for any occasion.

Distinction Hotels

Distinction Hotels

Great hotels in great NZ wide locations.