Amazing views, spectacular fishing, historical stories and intricate waterways are all part of the journey to Paerau.
Paerau is located in a secluded valley at the southern end of the expansive Maniototo valley, just beyond Patearoa.
The starting point to explore the Serpentine Valley gold diggings and the headlands of the Taieri River, this area is New Zealand’s only example of a scroll plain wetland.
The Maniototo Irrigation Scheme uses the Loganburn Damn (or Moss Swamp) for storage and has contributed to relieving drought in a farming community heavily reliant on water.
Paerau means 'many ridges' and is also known as The Styx. It is criss-crossed by The Old Dunstan Trail, which is little changed since being used by prospectors, coaches and wagons heading to inland goldfields.
One route climbs the Rock and Pillar Range from Pareau/Styx and comes out onto SH87 at Clarks Junction, south of Dunedin. Another continues west up Old Dunstan track over Rough Ridge to Poolburn and Moa Creek.
The Dunstan Trail is a popular four wheel drive and mountain bike track in summer. It is closed in winter.
At the foot of the trail on the banks of the Taieri River is the Styx Jail, the Styx Hotel and the stables.
The historic Styx Jail was possibly more of a lock-up for protecting gold bullion during overnight coach stops than it was for prisoners. Due to the location’s importance as an overnight and refreshment stop, two hotels operated on either side of the river in case there was a flood. They are now privately owned and their romantic setting is often used for weddings and gatherings.
At the top of the valley turn towards Lake Onslow on the edge of the Lamermoor Range and be rewarded with stunning views into the Teviot Valley.
Enjoy the remote specialness of Central Otago's Paerau.