|Clyde – Alexandra 8km
Alexandra – Galloway 7km
Galloway – Chatto Creek 10km
Car parking: Clyde Railhead; Alexandra, Galloway, Chatto Creek Station sites
i-SITE visitor information centre: Alexandra township. Phone 03 448 9515
Information panels: General – Clyde, Alexandra Station sites, Historic interpretation – Clyde, Alexandra, Chatto Creek Station sites, Olrig Gangers’ Shed – topographical outline nearby
Dogs permitted (on leads), Alexandra – Clyde section only
The Otago Central Rail Trail begins (or ends) at the second Clyde Station site, originally developed to accommodate the tonnes of construction materials needed to build the hydro dam at Clyde during the 1980s. The original Clyde station site and the settlement of Clyde with its beautifully restored early buildings are across State Highway 8 (1km).
The Rail Trail is fairly flat from Clyde to Alexandra, passing orchards, vineyards and pastures.
Not far out of Clyde the trail crosses the Muttontown Viaduct, one of only two wooden trestle bridges on the Trail without stone abutments (the other is at Hyde). The name dates back to when a local sheep farmer supplied mutton to workers at a nearby miners’ camp.
The trail passes behind Alexandra, Central Otago’s commercial hub. From there to Chatto Creek the landscape changes from rural, where some of the world’s finest merino sheep graze, to unique Central Otago schist rock.
The trail crosses a single lane bridge over the Manuherikia River and passes through the old Tucker Hill gold diggings, which apparently only ever turned up enough gold for miners’ basic necessities and food (tucker). There are extensive views of Alexandra and Old Man Range from here.
A detour to Manorburn Dam from the Alexandra end of Galloway is a worthwhile 1km return trip.
The trail follows the Manuherikia River into Chatto Creek. What looks like areas of erosion, are actually naturally occurring saltpans.