Situated on one of the hills beside Alexandra on the other side of the river sits one of the biggest clocks in NZ. It is approx 7M tall and is lit up at night making it visible for 8 or so kilometres depending on weather conditions.
You can walk up to the clock if you're keen with the circuit taking you over the Shaky Bridge and a nice Cafe/winery very close by.
Running beside the Clutha between Alex and Clyde is an 11.5km track. It is open to walkers and bikers with the Mountain Bike crew who give it the most action. There are lots of dips and rises, small bridges and fast straights to give you a fun ride no matter what your level. Bikes can be hired from several places for around $10 per hour or $35 per day.
A great ride is to combine this track with the Rail Trail and do it in a circuit. If you are doing this, keep an eye out for the direction of the wind. The Nor'wester in Summer can be quite strong blowing from Clyde toward Alex. The rail trail is rather open!!
Remember, if you are not from NZ, to keep left when you have other track users coming toward you. Don't be afraid to cycle in a single line and move over if you hear "coming through" from a faster person wanting to pass.
This is a fantastic way to see Central Otago!!! The trail runs from Clyde to Middlemarch on what was the old rail line opened back in 1891 or so and can be walked, done on horse or on a bike. The most popular by far is by bike and these can be hired at many locations. Due to the popularity of the trail I'd recommend that you book in advance.
Bikes can be hired for $35 per day and the trail is doable in 2 days or more commonly 4 if you want to go slower. Most of the trail is fairly flat with the prevailing summer wind, the Nor'wester, behind you if you start at the Clyde end.
To set up your trip try someone like trail journeys or Altitude Adventures.
Shaky Bridge, What a name to give a bridge, we wondered why as we walked across it. Looking down into the river from the bridge, we saw many huge Trout swimming in the waters below.
Before the bridge was built, the only way to cross was by punt, a risky operation when the river was high.
The bridge was opened in 1879 at a cost of $1,949 and was later sold for $2.00 to two settlers living across the river, a good buy for the settlers! This bridge was once used by wagons and horses.
It fell into disrepair, then was fixed and made into a pedestrian bridge only!
I guess what we 1st noticed when entering Alexandra, was the large working clock on the hill.
The idea of a clock on the hill was first suggested by Alexandra Jaycee Inc. in June 1966. Many different ideas were put forward, with a Dunedin firm of engineers, which had had no previous experience in clock making, being given the task of designing and supplying the driving mechanism for the clock.
A full size mock-up was placed on the site, and six weeks allowed to gauge local reaction. Such a large scale project could not be undertaken without the full support of the people of the town. As there was much opposition to the original scheme, a poll was held, revealing that over 90% of the people were in favour of the clock.
Work began in earnest in June 1968. Within five months - by the end of November 1968 - the clock was finished. After three weeks of testing, it was officially started by the Mayor of Alexandra, at noon, 14 December, 1968.
The clock is electrically operated. The hands, which are cantilevered to withstand gusts of wind up to 130kph. A second motor and clutch provided in the gear train enable the hands to be altered should any adjustment be necessary because of power failure.
If you happen to be here at night, the time can be clearly read up to eight kilometres away.
The Old Bridge Piers are the remains of the original Alexandra Bridge, which was completed in 1882. This bridge crossed the mighty Clutha River, New Zealand's largest river by volume and second longest at 338km. The piers were constructed of schist stone quarried locally. The total height of the piers is 29.48m with 6.8m beneath the present water level. The construction of this bridge was a huge task when you consider the size of the river and the tools available at the time of construction. The very first method of crossing the river was a packing case on a cable. This method was superseded by a punt, which ferried people across the river. The name Clutha is taken from Scotland's Clyde River - Clutha being Gaelic for Clyde. To the Maori people the river was Mata-au (surfaced current).
This relic of goldmining days was once used by wagons and horses; today it’s strictly for pedestrians. Before the suspension bridge was built, the only way across the Manuherikia River was by punt - a risky operation when the river was high. The bridge was opened in 1879 at a cost of £974 and was later sold for £1 to two settlers living across the river. The bridge fell into a state of neglect and was eventually repaired by a specially formed committee. It was at this time the bridge was narrowed to foot traffic only.
Alexandra's annual Blossom Festival is held on the 4th weekend of September. The Festival is the longest running community event of its kind in New Zealand. The activities are wide, varied & lots of fun for all ages & interests.
The Alexandra Blossom Festival celebrates the advent of spring in the Central Otago District as evidenced by the blooming of the fruit trees
Since 1956, the Blossom Festival has grown and become a community event synonymous with spring to both local residents and visitors alike. Originally a one-day event, the Festival has grown into a two-week extravaganza!
Floats, bands, celebrities, classic cars, floral princesses, special units, and animals all make up the Grand Festival Parade winding through Alexandra.