This is now a 4WD track, especially in winter when it is generally closed from May to October.
The old stage coach route from Dunedin to the Dunstan goldfields at Clyde takes a direct line from Clarke's Junction (from Dunedin / Mosgiel towards Middlemarch) and comes out at the Poolburn Dam in central Otago. It has around 120kms of rough dirt road and with travel speeds limited to an average of 30kms an hour, it will take you over 3 hours plus stop time to look and photograph the rugged but stunning scenary.
At about the half way point (Styx or Paerau) you will need to go north a little to Paerau juntion and then back west to re-join the trail as a little section is now on private land. The section from here to the Pooldam dam has a number of closed gates that require you to stop & open.
The side trip to the Serpetine area is well worth the slight detour, while it has a very rugged road, the old goldfields area is full of interest.
The entire track or old road is becoming more popular with 4WD and mountain bikers.
Have a look at the website and map of the route. A very worth while trail.
I had never tried flyfishing before so while in the Otago region I thought that I'd give it a go and organised a full day trip with Dreamwaters. The region is famous for it's fresh water trout.
Bruce Leitch was our guide for the day who picked us up from our accommodation and took us to all the best river locations and provided all our equipment including rods, waders, fishing license and lunch.
It's a fantastic way to spend a day and forget about the world for a moment or two in good company!
Named after a large run holder, William Dansey, this once well-trodden pass through tussock country links the Maniototo Plains and the Waitaki Valley. The towns of Duntroon to the north and Nasby to the south are at each end of the pass.
The Pass itself is unsealed, narrow in places and can be closed by snow during winter.
On the southern side, the old gold diggings area of Kyeburn has some remnants of the mining area and the Dansey Pass hotel is available as accommodation.
The area has some spectacular scenery.
At the southern entry point, Danseys Pass is around 1 hours drive from Clyde and around 1.5 hours from Dunedin. At the north Otago end, its about half an hour from Oamaru.
Kyeburn and the surrounding area like so many small towns in Central Otago sprung up after the discovery of gold and the arrival of the miners.
The gold fields in the Kyeburn area known as the Kyeburn Diggings although this place is now better known as Danseys Pass, even though the pass itself is the track further on.
This is in the heart of the Maniatoto district and the gold diggings were well underway before the main discovery of gold at nearby Naseby. The pub or Danseys Pass Hotel as it is known, was built in 1862 by the miners who were paid in beer for their labour.
The Upper Kyeburn gold fields once boasted hotels, stores, a butcher, a baker and in the 1860’s a school opened. There is very little left today unfortunately.
This area is around 1 hours drive from Clyde and around 1.5 hours from Dunedin.
This dam is in the Ida Valley and is situated on the Old Dunstan Road. The track is only suitable for 4WD in winter.
Driving along the road, you can sense the remoteness of the place and its easy to imagine the old stage coaches that plied this road.
The dam itself has a series of huts and cabins and is set amongst the stunning central Otago rock countryside.
From Clyde, head down the roads towards Omakau and turn right into the Ida Valley and right again at the signpost to the poolburn dam from Poolburn. It is around 30kms down dusty and rough gravel roads, real southern farming land!
This is an old gold area in the central Otago / Maniatoto region.
Today it is a small town with only two surviving operating facilities - the post office and the (haunted) pub. The pub in St Bathans, 'The Vulcan', dates back to 1882 and the post-office back to 1909. Try the "local" brew "Speights" at the pub, its a great setting.
Little has changed around the town and it is easy to imagine the place in its hey-day. Other older buildings include the Anglican Church (1882) and the stone schoolhouse.
The Blue Lake in St Bathans (named for its distinctive blue colour caused by the minerals in the water) was man-made by miners digging away at a 120m hill until all that was left was a 68m deep pit. When the mining stopped, the hole filled with water forming the lake. Today the lake is a popular and unique setting for swimming and jet skiing. There is a track that runs along it into the old gold diggings areas.