Places to Visit in central otagoTo travel to Central Otago is to journey into New Zealand’s golden heartland. Its many towns and settlements are founded on the pioneering spirit and back-breaking toil of farming run-holders and adventure-seeking gold miners. These places lie nestled amid the grandeur of towering mountain ranges, stunning rocky tors, sweeping plains, valleys, gorges and meandering and mighty rivers.
The vibrant commercial centre of Alexandra is the region’s business, cultural and political capital. All the services and conveniences of a modern centre are here. Nearby historic Clyde township is home to a hydro-electric dam. The area includes Earnscleugh Valley and Fruitlands with their orchards, vineyards and gold mining remnants.
Cromwell is a smaller and growing commercial centre on Lake Dunstan. The area is known as the fruit bowl because of its orchards. Farming has long history here and there is also a strong quartz mining heritage. Viticulture has successfully emerged in recent times and is particularly prominent at Bannockburn.
Roxburgh is situated on Lake Roxburgh and is another fruit growing area. The lake was formed by the nearby hydro-electric dam and like Cromwell’s Lake Dunstan, it hosts a variety of recreational water activities.
Long empty roads stretch out to the sleepy townships of the Manuherikia Valley. There are historic schist stone and mud-brick cottages buildings along the way. Ophir and St Bathans are particularly well-preserved living townships of the gold rush. The latter is close to the Blue Lake and with its glaring-white cliffs – a consequence of hydraulic digging.
The Maniototo Plains of Central Otago feature remnants of the gold mining era and irrigated pastures. The historic Hayes Engineering works showcases some of farming’s best innovations. Maniototo’s many townships include Naseby, the country’s curling (ancient, Scottish ice sport) capital with an indoor rink; and Ranfurly, famous for its art deco architecture.
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|alexandra-clyde area |
Alexandra is Central Otago's business and political capital situated at the conjunction of the Manuherikia and Clutha rivers. Visit Clyde a quaint, well preserved town of the gold rush era. Fruitlands is one of Central Otago’s most photographed places during winter frosts and snows. Drive through Earnscleugh and explore orchards, gold mining remains and vineyards.
|cromwell-bannockburn area |
Cromwell is renowned for abundant sun-ripened fruit while 60 percent of Central Otago's famed vineyards lie across this region. Lake Dunstan provides a recreational playground and the settlements of Bannockburn, Pisa Moorings, Lowburn, Queensberry and Tarras have their own stories to tell.
|maniototo area |
Marvel at the restored 1930s modernist art deco architecture of Ranfurly - Maniototo's main town. Discover the picturesque old gold mining townships of Naseby, St Bathans and Patearoa. Other towns with names like Wedderburn, Gimmerburn and Kyeburn reflect on Central Otago’s farming history. Maniototo plains and its towns are truly ‘A timeless land’.
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|manuherikia area |
Manuherikia Valley rolls gently across green and gold highlands. Omakau offers a relaxed rural setting and a friendly atmosphere against a backdrop of the Dunstan Mountains. Visit Ophir and St Bathans, living townships of the gold rush hey days. Get active on the Chatto Creek to Lauder section of the Rail Trail.
|Roxburgh area |
Roxburgh lies alongside the Clutha River in the Teviot Valley. Other towns to explore are Ettrick, one of the first places where settlers grew apples. Millers Flat is full of surprises and intriguing historical monuments. Lake Roxburgh Village is a recreational gem and stepping off point for exploring Lake Roxburgh.