Towns & Places in the Maniototo | Central Otago

Danseys Pass

Danseys Pass links Central Otago to the Waitaki District. This classic alpine pass is unsealed, narrow in places and can be closed by snow during winter. Danseys Pass was once well used for gold mining traffic, now the only substantial building remaining is the Danseys Pass Coach Inn built in 1862.


Situated in the middle of the Maniototo Plains, Gimmerburn has been immortalised by acclaimed Central Otago artist Grahame Sydney in his painting, Family Trees - Gimmerburn Rd.The name Gimmerburn means a young ewe, which is an apt name for this predominantly farming community noted for producing excellent fine wool.


Hamiltons has an intriguing and continuous history that is still evident today. Approximately 20 minutes drive from Ranfurly, Hamiltons is just above Patearoa and En Hakkore Religious Retreat, which was originally built as a tuberculosis sanitarium in the 1930s. The Hamiltons Cemetery is a lonely tribute to Hamiltons past and an example of history, preserved.


Set amid awesome mountainous scenery and situated on the Taieri River, Kokonga is a sight to behold. Approximately 25km south of Ranfurly and 30km north of Middlemarch, Kokonga offers great picnicking, swimming, fishing and a visually breathtaking stopover, whether travelling by road or on the Otago Central Rail Trail.


Along the northeast end of the Maniototo Plains, 10 minutes east of Ranfurly is the Upper Kyeburn and Lower Kyeburn. The meandering Kyeburn River beneath rutted cliffs is a peaceful reminder of Kyeburn’s golden hey days. Kyeburn was once a stopping point for Cobb & Co coaches on their journey to Naseby and the Otago interior.


One of the most charming of Otago's gold rush settlements, Nasby is often referred to as the ‘jewel of the Maniototo'. The town is located within Naseby forestry, 10 minutes northeast of Ranfurly. Explore a wealth of Victorian architecture, or have a go at the ancient game of curling, outdoor ice skating or downhill ice luge.


Oturehua translates to ‘the sun God’. Boasting views of Mt Ida and the Hawkdun Range, this farming community rests alongside the Otago Central Rail Trail. It is home to Hayes Engineering Works, and just to the south is the Idaburn Dam where a Bonspiel (ancient curling tournament) will be held when winter conditions are right.


Amazing views, spectacular fishing, historical stories and intricate waterways are all part of the journey to Paerau. Located at the southern end of the expansive Maniototo valley, this is the starting point to explore the Serpentine Valley gold diggings and the headlands of the Taieri River, New Zealand’s only example of a scroll plain wetland.


Originally known as Sowburn, Patearoa is regularly used as a base by fishermen who return to fish the Taieri River and its extensive wetlands. It is situated in the centre of a predominantly farming community. The remains of a small Chinese settlement can be reached by the Sowburn Walkway, unveiling some of the area’s intriguing history.


Famous for its Art Deco architecture, Ranfurly is a bustling service hub in the heart of the Maniototo alongside the Otago Central Rail Trail. In February the town comes alive and its population swells with visitors keen to partake in the Ranfurly Art Deco Festival. People dress in the fashion of the era and enjoy the entertainment.


Waipiata is situated on the Otago Central Rail Trail, 6km from Ranfurly and 30km from Hyde. This corner of the Maniototo Plains was once a thriving railway camp servicing the Otago Central Railway line. Originally named Komako, meaning ‘Bellbird’, the name was later changed to Waipiata, which means glistening water.


Wedderburn is a convenient stop on the highest point of the Otago Central Rail Trail. The Wedderburn railway goods shed made famous by acclaimed artist Grahame Sydney in his painting ‘July in Maniototo’. The shed has been restored to its original site at the southern end of the township adjacent to the only remaining Vogel 5 railway station and ticket office in New Zealand.
Otago Central Rail Trail
Discover New Zealand's Original Great Ride - The Otago Central Rail Trail is a relaxing 4-5 day ride through big sky landscapes and through historic townships. Read More

Roxburgh Gorge Trail
Explore New Zealand's Grand Canyon - The Roxburgh Gorge Trail is a unique one day experience. Described as 'Another World' this 34km trail includes a unique jet boat transfer. Read More

Clutha Gold Trail
A 73km journey of discovery through a tapestry of diverse landscapes from seductively rugged semi-arid dry lands through to lush green contoured farmlands that follow powerful Clutha Mata Au River. Read More

Mountain Bike Trails
Whether you’re looking for an adrenalin-pumping single track descent, a long backcountry journey, or a heli biking adventure then the Central Otago region has an experience to suit your style. Read More

Cycle a Great Ride
Central Otago boasts three of NZ's best trails. Otago Central Rail Trail - the original great ride; Roxburgh Gorge Trail - a unique one-day trail complete with jet boat ride; Clutha Gold Trail - a journey of discovery along the mighty Clutha Mata-au river. Read More

Cycling & Mountain Biking Trails
Central Otago boasts a diversity of cycling and mountain bike trails that beckon the cyclist to experience the freedom and the joy of getting off the beaten track. Read More

Clutha Gold Trail
The Clutha Gold Trail is one of the 'Great Rides' of the Nga Haerenga, New Zealand Cycle Trail. The trail is full of variety - from undulating to flat to meandering, there is a journey of discovery around every corner. Read More

Getting to Central Otago
The Central Otago region is located in the middle of the South Island of New Zealand. A scenic a 1hr drive from Queenstown International Airport and accessible via road from Dunedin & Christchurch airports. Read More

Roxburgh Gorge Trail
A spectacular one-day ride through truly iconic country between Alexandra and Roxburgh Dam along the Clutha Mata-au River is a trail worth exploring. Read More

Motorsport Mecca
Be amazed at Highlands in Cromwell. With a world class museum, range of on and off track activities and annual events there is something for everyone whether a car fanatic or not. Read More

Central Otago Wine
Indulge yourself in a premium Central Otago wine at one of the many wineries or cellar doors in the Cromwell and Alexandra basins – sensational! Read More
Our Regional Identity - A World of Difference
Our Regional Identity - A World of Difference 'A World of Difference' defines what is uniquely Central Otago as a place and a community. Read More

Central Otago NZ - Through Local Eyes
Central Otago NZ - Through Local Eyes Meet some unique and passionate Central Otago locals and be introduced to their favourite places and activities. Read More

Food & Wine
Food & Wine Central Otago is a place of sheer indulgence – whether it’s fine dining, a casual al-fresco lunch or café culture. You will be spoilt for choice when enjoying local fare and award winning wines at the great selection of cafés, restaurants, cellar doors and country pubs. Read More
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