Things to do
From relaxed wanders around Clyde’s fascinating historic goldfields architecture to more challenging undertakings by foot or bike into the high country, the cyclist and walker are spoilt for choice.
Clyde has numerous short walking tracks and for the more adventurous there is the Clyde Off Road Walkers Club.
Otago Central Rail Trail
There is a myriad of walking and cycle trails cross the countryside, which includes the famed Otago Central Rail Trail.
This trail begins at Clyde and follows the original railway route through to Middlemarch, some 150 kilometres away. Suitable for families and most cycling abilities, this well graded trail is also used by walkers and horse riders undertaking short sections or opting for the full 3-4 day journey.
Passing pubs, vineyards and beautifully preserved gold towns and peddling over incredible viaducts, through tunnels and across Central Otago’s big open desert-like country, is an experience to remember.
Just over the historic Clyde bridge, the Alexandra to Clyde 150th Anniversary Track begins, following the swirling emerald current of the Clutha/Matau-Au River downstream on an easy grade through the Earnscleugh Valley.
En-route pass the Earnscleugh gold tailings, distinctive rock and gravel formations – a legacy of the boom days of gold dredging on the river.
Further downstream, beginning at Alexandra, you can venture down the true left of the Clutha River (now Lake Roxburgh) to Butchers Point and Doctors Point, following an original gold miners’ route, where well-preserved gold mining artifacts can be seen, as well as wonderful schist stacked huts.
Roxburgh Gorge/Clutha Gold Trails
The Roxburgh Gorge Trail takes you down the other side (true right) of the Clutha/Matau-Au River from Alexandra for 34 km before arriving at Lake Roxburgh Village and Dam.
From here it connects up with the Clutha Gold Trail, from the Roxburgh Dam to Lawrence. Both cycle trails are recent additions to the Nga Haerenga, New Zealand Cycle Trail. (At the time of printing, a portion of The Roxburgh Gorge Trail requires a boat trip).
More advanced trails
Heading for the tussock-clad tops offers a number of more challenging mountain bike tracks and walks.
If you are fit and experienced and looking for adventure you could follow the Hawksburn Road between Clyde and Bannockburn (25km) sidling the Cairnmuir Range, or travel ten kilometres south of Alexandra, off SH8, to access the Old Man Range.
A steep 4-wheel-drive road leads to the Obelisk or Kopuwai Rock, a natural landscape beacon standing over 26m high.
Investigate other options by contacting the Department of Conservation, the Visitor i-SITE in Alexandra or the local bike shops in Clyde.
Take a wine tour around the 20 plus vineyards that dot the landscape around Clyde and Alexandra, their tapestry of vines set amongst stunning, alpine Central Otago scenery.
Pick up the Alexandra Basin Wine Map and explore this grape-growing hot spot, try the area’s specialty – Pinot Noir and find out why it has such an international reputation.
A circuit from Clyde through the Earnscleugh Valley to Alexandra and back via the eastern side of the Clutha/Matau-Au River offers wine tasting at cellar doors.
The annual Clyde Wine and Food Harvest Festival at Easter attracts thousands who join together to celebrate and showcase the region’s wines and eateries. It is not too unlikely to spot actor Sam Neil partaking in the festivities either, with his ‘Two Paddocks’ winery sited just down the road.
Fully licensed with food and wine available.
"Your Local Motion Picture"
Just minutes from Clyde above the dam that created Lake Dunstan is 26 square km of lake that extends from Clyde through to Cromwell.
Boating, water skiing, kayaking, rowing, yachting, fishing and swimming are all popular pastimes during the scorching heat of a Central Otago summer.
Downstream, between Clyde, Alexandra and Lake Roxburgh you can take a guided boat cruise combining water excitement with history, fish the river and its tributaries or just relax, picnic or take a dip in the mighty blue Clutha.
If you feel like a swim year-round, try the Molyneux Pools in Alexandra.
One of the best ways to get a full perspective on Central Otago’s landscape is to take to the air. Scenic flights by fixed wing aircraft are available with ‘Fly Alexandra’, who soar over the craggy Central Otago hills and vineyards.
Just 20 minutes from Clyde is Cromwell’s Highlands Motorsport Park. Described as ‘the best motor racing facility in the southern hemisphere’ a 4.5 kilometre international standard race track winds its way around a course designed by those at the top of their game.
The park also offers go-kart tracks, high speed taxi rides and a FastLaps experience in a Porsche for visitors. You can also get behind a wheel yourself and do a few laps with YOURLaps.
The Central Otago Arts Trail offers a unique and interesting artistic experience for both visitors and locals alike. We encourage you to take time to personally meet our talented artists in their studios and visit their galleries and/or studios.
Painters, potters, jewellers, print makers, bead workers and sculptors are dotted throughout the area and each of these artists has something very special to offer a visitor to enhance, strengthen and perpetuate the Central Otago culture.
Why not get a group of friends together and drive around Central Otago’s back-roads to find the small towns where our amazing artisans live and get an insight into what makes them tick.
You can find an Arts Trail Map and Brochure at i-SITES, retail outlets and accommodation providers or go to www.artstrail.co.nz
Thanks to the unique history, both geographical and human, the Clyde district has a rich character and heritage.
The first museum began in 1879 with a collection given by Mr. Vincent Pyke, the administrator of the Dunstan Goldfields. The collection, gathered from his travels, is still in the Blyth Street museum.
The Blyth Street museum (opposite the Post Office Café) was once the Vincent County Council Chambers. It now houses family histories, photos, relics and stories of the early gold mining time.
The Fraser Street museum complex has larger exhibits featuring recreated rooms, stables, wagons, a dairy factory, the old Briar Herb factory and much more.
And don’t forget our living museum, Clyde township, where you can walk back in time by picking up a Walk Around Historic Clyde brochure.
Play the 9 or 18 hole course at Clyde’s Dunstan Golf Course or practice your putting at the Gold Diggers Mini Golf on Dunstan Road.
Taking the ‘path less travelled’ in a 4-wheel-drive can get you to some high points with marvelous vistas across broad rocky peaks and golden tussock lands.
Local 4wd companies can tailor trips for groups and usually operate between August and May.
Horse riding in Central Otago keeps a tradition alive and is still a great way to travel through this landscape.
Horse riders are welcome on the Otago Central Rail Trail.