Alexandra, Clyde, Earnscleugh, Fruitlands, Becks, Chatto Creek, Lauder, Omakau, Ophir, St Bathans
The main town of this area of Central Otago is Alexandra which is situated at the conjunction of two rivers, the Manuherikia and the mighty Clutha. A little further up the Clutha is the historic gold mining township of Clyde and the immense Clyde hydro dam.
In Alexandra there are range of eateries, parks, artists' studios, heritage buildings and a range of cycling and mountain biking trails, and a range of short walks. Wherever you go in Alexandra the town's gold mining past is never far from the surface.
Wonder at the hardship and innovation of early pioneers in the Central Stories Museum's and Art Gallery, located next to the Alexandra i-SITE on Centennial Avenue.
Tour old gold diggings and dredge sites like the spectacular Earnscleugh tailings, and the town's aged stone buildings. The grand Alexandra Courthouse (1879-1972), is one of the oldest and now operates as a Café.
Amble across Shaky Bridge, an early suspension bridge. Magnificent stone piers are all that are left of Alexandra's first bridge.
The township of Clyde and its heritage precinct offer a quaint, well preserved town of the gold rush era. New galleries, cafes, restaurants and refurbished heritage buildings have created a destination in its right. Nearby the Clyde hydro dam has a capacity of 432 megawatts of power from its four turbines, there are various lookouts to view the dam and the surrounding mountains and Lake Dunstan.
Omakau, Ophir and St Bathans
Explore the quiet roadways and discover old farm buildings and gold miners’ cottages made from local schist stone. Visit Omakau, Ophir and St Bathans, living townships of the Central Otago gold rush hey days. In St Bathans, both the post office and the reputedly haunted Vulcan Hotel, are still in business. Nearby Blue Lake resulted from the flooding of an enormous pit left by the world’s deepest hydraulic mining lift of gravel.
The historic town of Cambrians has well preserved mud-brick buildings, and the former White Horse Hotel at Becks is made of stone and timber.
Admire the many historic buildings in Ophir, once the area’s most populous centre. It also has a spectacular suspension bridge with stone piers.
Take the time to enjoy local hospitality at Pitches Store, the Blacks Hotel, the Chatto Creek Tavern or the Omakau Commercial Hotel or visit one of the many other pubs and eateries dotted around the Manuherikia Valley.