Alexandra to Clutha 150th Anniversary Walkway
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.
Central Otago Rail Trail
The CORT 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.
There are plenty of places to eat and drink on the way including a few spots tucked just off the trail such as the orchard Cafe near Clyde.
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.
Central Otago Rail Trail
This cycling or walking track was created after NZ rail ripped up the old rail lines in 1993.
The track runs from Middlemarch to Clyde for 150kms and can be attacked from either end.
There are many places to stay, at pubs, towns or tourist lodgings that have sprung up along the route. The track has created a major resurgence in many of the smaller places that line the track. There are any number of places to stop, eat drink or just take in the splendid scenery as you go along.
There are also plenty of tour operators that can organise things or bikes for you if you don't want to, or they can simply pick up your car from one end and bring it to the end you finish on. You can of course, easily organise the entire trip yourself and get buses back to pick up your car.
This is one of the great trips you can take.
- Hiking and Walking
A government think big project from the 1970's, this massive dam transformed the central Otago countryside creating a large lake from what was a beautiful gorge.
The lake (26 sq kms) is now however is considered a popular recreational asset and the hydro station (NZ's 3rd largest) is an important part of the national power grid.
During construction of the dam, the adjacent rock was discovered to be microfractured, because of an earthquake faultline. A large amount of slurry cement was pumped into the rock to stop water leaks. This additional work was one reason for a major project cost over-run, which made the dam the most expensive in New Zealand. The other areas of over-run were due to stabilisation of landslides in the Cromwell Gorge. There are over 18 km of tunnels throughout the gorge for draining purposes.
Water was progressively filled from 1992.