Free and Cheap Activities in Alexandra and Clyde
After visiting some of the nearby tourist hotspots of Central Otago, it’s likely that you’ll find the affordability of Alexandra and Clyde a welcome relief. There are no overpriced bungy jumps, skydives, wine tours or whatnot here. Instead, you’ll find a myriad of bike trails – some classed as “Great Rides of New Zealand”, free and cheap wine tastings at cellar doors, picturesque parks, charming historical architecture and more. See what the most affordable experiences are with this list of free and cheap things to do in Alexandra and Clyde.
For more free things to do in Alexandra and Clyde, see The Guide to Alexandra & Clyde on a Budget. Plus, find a cheap place to stay in the 10 Best Budget Accommodations in Alexandra & Clyde.
1. Check Out the Shaky Bridge and the Alexandra Mountain Clock – FREE
A good place to start in Alexandra is by getting a stunning vantage point from the Alexandra Mountain Clock, also known as the Clock of the Hill. The 10-minute walk starts, incidentally, from another free attraction, the Shaky Bridge. After crossing to Graveyard Gully Road and walking alongside the vineyard, head up the hill to the giant timepiece for sweeping views of Alexandra, its two rivers and surrounding mountains. This is one of the must-dos in Alexandra, also listed in the 12 Best Things to Do in Alexandra.
Location: Graveyard Gully Road, Alexandra.
2. Visit the Central Stories Museum & Art Gallery – FREE
Once you’ve sampled a bit of the history by reading the interpretation panel beside the Shaky Bridge, you can head onto another historical attraction, the Central Stories Museum & Art Gallery. This free museum has exhibitions on gold mining, gold dredging, geology and has an indoor enclosure for live Otago skinks. You’ll also find artwork on display by local artists.
Location: 21 Centennial Avenue, Alexandra.
3. Explore the “Living Museum” of Clyde – FREE
With beautifully preserved buildings from the Otago Gold Rush, Clyde town itself is a “living museum”. Pick up a “Walk Around Historic Clyde” brochure from the local information centre to read up on all its extravagant architecture as you explore. Additionally, head inside The Clyde Historical Museums, one on Blyth Street and the other on Fraser Street, to see all sorts of gold mining relics. See more experiences in the town in the 9 Best Things to Do in Clyde.
4. Do Some Wine Tastings – FREE/CHEAP
Did you know you can have a winery experience in Alexandra for free? Grey Ridge Vineyard is a boutique vineyard offering a relaxed and free wine tasting at their cellar door. Try their four different wines: White Pinot Noir, a Pinot Rosé and two Pinot Noir. Additionally, you can visit other wineries surrounding Alexandra and Clyde where most have an affordable tasting fee of NZ$5-$10. Take your pick from the 10 Best Wineries in Alexandra.
Location: Grey Ridge Vineyard – 236 Letts Gully Road, RD3, approximately 6km (4 miles) from Alexandra town centre. Locations for other vineyards and wineries are listed here.
5. Hire a Bike and Do a Day Ride – CHEAP
The main attraction of Alexandra and Clyde are its surrounding cycle trails, particularly the ones that are classed as “Great Rides” like the Otago Central Rail Trail and the Roxburgh Gorge Trail. However, riding the whole thing isn’t exactly cheap, but you can get a taster of the trails with affordable bike hire and a day ride from Clyde. Central Cycle Trail Co./Cycle Surgery offer bike hire starting from NZ$40 a day. That way, you can enjoy some of the day trails around the area like the 150th Anniversary Trail alongside the Clutha River between Clyde and Alexandra, returning on the Otago Central Rail Trail back to Clyde, which is approximately 20km (12 miles). With this route, you won’t need to pay for shuttle transport. Find out more about the trails in the 5 Best Bike Trails in Alexandra & Clyde.
Location: Cycle Surgery – 33 Sunderland Street, Clyde.
6. Play a Round of Golf – CHEAP
Golf is also pretty affordable in Alexandra and Clyde, more so if you’re playing the 9-hole fees. The Dunstan Golf Club costs a mere NZ$25 to play at a picturesque course alongside the Clutha River. Alternatively, the Alexandra Golf Club is a bigger course, costing around NZ$45 to play 18 holes or NZ$20 for 9 holes. Bear in mind that club hire is usually an additional NZ$35. See how the courses compare in the 21 Best Golf Courses in New Zealand.
Location: Dunstan Golf Club – O’Reilly Avenue, Clyde. Alexandra Golf Club – 118 Clyde-Alexandra Road, Alexandra.
7. Do the Walks in the Bridge Hill Area – FREE
For enjoyment on your own two feet, cross the Alexandra Bridge to Bridge Hill to experience picturesque scenery and excellent walks. See native plantings and birds along the Kamaka Walkway, check out the Jolendale Park Arboretum for exotic and native trees mixed with mining remains, and watch the ducks of the pretty Lanes Dam. Adjacent to the dam is Blackmore Park, great for picnicking and letting the kids loose in the play area, as featured in the 9 Things to Do in Alexandra & Clyde with Kids.
Location: Kamaka Walkway – Start halfway along Aronui Road or from Kamaka Crescent. Jolendale Park – Peterson Place. Lanes Dam and Blackmore Park – 45 Aronui Road.
8. Go for a Walk in Roxburgh – FREE
Free if you don’t consider the fuel costs, a day out in Roxburgh offers plenty of free activities to enjoy – mostly walks! After a scenic drive down State Highway 8 from Alexandra, see the impressive Roxburgh Dam – best seen from the Spillway Lookout on the Commissioner’s Track. Travel a little further south to Roxburgh town to do the River Track or get awesome views from the Grovers Hill Track. Or if you’re looking for something more adventurous, enjoy a hike up the Bullocks Track. Find out more about each of these walks in the 6 Best Walks in Roxburgh.
Location: Roxburgh, State Highway 8, 40km (25 miles) from Alexandra.
9. Scout Out the Cheap Eats – CHEAP
If you haven’t had the chance to sample the famous Kiwi savoury pies in New Zealand yet, and other baked goods for that matter, make Alexandra and Clyde the place to begin! The towns are bustling with bakeries, such as Avenue Bakery selling cream buns, muffins, cookies, bread pudding, cobbler, pies, bread and more. Speaking of pies, you might also want to pop into Eat Humble Pie for their gourmet savoury pies, as well as sandwiches, cakes and coffee for a “humble” price. In Clyde, don’t miss the Clyde Village Store and Cafe for its affordable coffee, burgers, pies, sausage rolls and more. For more cheap eats, check out The Guide to Alexandra & Clyde on a Budget. More restaurant recommendations can also be found in The Foodie Guide to Alexandra & Clyde.
Location: Avenue Bakery – 61 Centennial Avenue, Alexandra. Eat Humble Pie – Centrepoint Mall, Alexandra. Clyde Village Store and Cafe – 18 Sunderland Street, Clyde.
10. Enjoy a Boutique Cinema Experience – CHEAP
Finally, conclude your day with a relaxing boutique cinema experience. The neighbouring towns each have their own offering, such as Alexandra with the Central Cinema showing mainstream, arthouse and documentary films in a volunteer-run cinema. Alternatively, Clyde Cinema offers a gastronomical experience to go with your mainstream or arthouse flick, with drink and food served at the on-site Clyde Bistro. Movie tickets cost NZ$15-$17 per adult.
Location: Central Cinema – 21 Centennial Avenue. Clyde Cinema – 6a Naylor Street, Clyde.
More Free and Cheap Things to Do in Alexandra and Clyde
That’s it for our list of cheap and free things to do in Alexandra and Clyde. For more alternative experiences, check out the following guides:
- 10 Fun Things to Do in Alexandra
- 9 Cool Things to Do in Clyde
- 6 Most Romantic Things to Do in Alexandra & Clyde for Couples
- 9 Things to Do in Alexandra & Clyde with Kids
- 5 Things to Do in Alexandra & Clyde for Foodies
Finally, for more free stuff, check out the 31 Best Free Things to Do on the South Island and 50 Best Free Things to Do in New Zealand.