|Earnscleugh Valley, between Alexandra and Clyde, once famous for being home to one of New Zealand's largest sheep stations, is a place of stunning beauty. Drive through and explore orchards, extensive gold mining remains and pinot noir vineyards.
Cross Alexandra Bridge over the Clutha River at the south end of Alexandra and look to the left to see the Old Bridge Piers from the original 1882 Alexandra Bridge. Made of locally constructed schist stone the piers are spectacular when lit up at night. Take the next right onto Earnscleugh Rd and continue along the base of the Old Man Range.
Turn left down Laing Road for a pleasant drive past towering poplars and gum trees. Halfway along on the left, alongside the Fraser River, is the original stunning red-brick mansion, Earnscleugh Station homestead. Absorb the views of Old Man Range, covered in contrasting grey wild thyme and green rosehip bushes.
Earnscleugh Station was named by Otago surveyor John Turnbull Thompson after Earnscleugh Water in the south east of Scotland. Although known for high quality wool production, various owners abandoned the land after it became overrun by introduced rabbits. Now, the lower land is extensively irrigated and a unique microclimate has proven fruitful.
A right turn onto Strode Road reveals summer fruit trees. Another right onto Fraser Road, left, then left at Earnscleugh Road and the journey continues through the Earnscleugh settlement with its weeping willows and award winning wineries.
Continue northwest along Earnscleugh Road to again cross the Clutha River, this time over the stunning red Clyde Bridge into Clyde’s Matau Street.
Enjoy local produce from fruit stalls – cherries, apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums and apples.
This picturesque drive is a wonderful combination of history and natural, Central Otago produce and beauty.