What to Do in Clyde: Central Otago’s Historic Town
Step into the historic town of Clyde and you might just think you’ve stepped into a polished pioneer park attraction. Quaint gold-rush buildings decorate the town situated along the bright blue waters of the Clutha River. The town was born during the 1860s Otago Gold Rush where much of the history is preserved in the museums, the heritage buildings and along the famous bike trails of the area. While nowadays, gold mining has been replaced by the production of fruit and wine, of which there are plenty of opportunities to sample, the history just makes up part of the amazing activities there are to experience here. Be inspired by this list of things to do in Clyde!
While you’re here, you might also be interested in the 10 Central Otago Must-Dos and Mountain Biking in the Catlins and Clutha District.
1. Cycle the Otago Central Rail Trail
This part of Central Otago is renowned for its amazing range of cycle trails. The most famed is the Otago Central Rail Trail, a 150km journey between Clyde and Middlemarch. Cycle through historic sites and breathtaking countryside as you follow an original railway route through Otago on a well-graded trail suitable for all abilities. The 3-4-day ride passes pubs, vineyards, through tunnels and across desert-like countryside. With three cycle hire and shuttle services in Clyde, as well as more information in our 5 Best Bike Trails in Alexandra and Clyde, there’s no excuse!
Location: Albert Drive or State Highway 8
2. Walk or Cycle the Clyde/Alexandra Loop
If you don’t fancy going on a 4-day mission with the Otago Central Rail Trail, then there are plenty of short cycle trails giving a similar experience to the Rail Trail for those with less time. The Clyde/Alexandra Loop follows the Clutha River on the 150th Anniversary Track toward Alexandra. Along the way, you’ll see the Earnscleaugh gold trailings etched into the hillside, as well as relics of the area’s gold mining past. Cross the historic Alexandra Bridge, then link up to the Manuherikia River Track off River Street, then onto the Otago Central Rail Trail back toward Clyde.
Location: Clyde River Bridge
3. Sample Some Local Wine
Yes, when you are in Clyde you are in the heart of the spectacular sub-region of the Central Otago wine-making region. Pinot Noir is the region’s speciality, as well as a few other varietals which can be a sampled in the Clyde’s surrounding tasting rooms and cellar doors. Check out some of the best wineries to visit in 10 Wonderful Wineries in Alexandra.
Location: All around Alexandra
4. Visit the Local Museum
You could say that the Cylde township is a “living museum” with its beautifully preserved historic buildings. In fact, you can even pick up a Historic Walk brochure from the local information centre to learn more about what you can see around the town. Alternatively, visit the Cycle Historical Museums, one on Blyth Street and the other on Fraser Street. The museum on Blyth Street holds interesting gold mining relics, while the Fraser street complex has larger exhibits of recreated rooms, stables, wagons and more. The museums are open Tuesday-Sunday, October-April.
Location: 5 Blythe Street and 12 Fraser Street
5. Play Golf
As you may have noticed while travelling around New Zealand, there is no lack of golf courses. Clyde is no different. In fact, you have two fantastic courses to choose from! Check out the Dunstan Golf Club and its 9-hole course with 18 tee-offs. The golf club welcomes visitors. Alternatively, have some fun at the Gold Diggers Mini Golf set in peaceful surroundings. It’s fun and affordable fun for everyone, but note that they only accept cash.
Location: Dunstan Golf Club – O’Reilly Avenue, Mini Golf – 585 Dunstan Road
6. Enjoy a Cruise on the Clutha River
If you can’t resist the allure of the vibrant blue waters of the Clutha River, then a great way to discover it is on a river cruise from Clyde. The Clutha River Heritage Cruise takes you down to Doctors Point to see historic schist huts that the early gold minders once lived in. You’ll also get the time to soak up the wonderful scenery of the area. Jet boat options are also available.
Location: Clutha River
7. Watch a Movie at the Clyde Cinema
If the weather isn’t playing ball or you are just looking for a great way to relax on an evening, then check out the Clyde Cinema. The boutique cinema features the latest releases, as well as arthouse films. Pick a drink and a treat from the Clyde Bistro to go along with your movie for the full “boutique cinema” experience.
Location: 6 Fasche Street
8. Treat Yourself to the Local Cuisine
Speaking of “treats”, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to eateries and quaint cafes in Clyde. Try locally-grown berries at the Monte Christo Dessert Cafe & Gardens offering mouthwatering sweets. Or check out The Orchard Garden Cafe with a hedge canvas maze, a mudbrick old fruit packhouse and direct access to the Rail Trail. Or mix dining and heritage in one of the town’s historic buildings, such as The Post Office Cafe, The Bank Cafe or Dunstan Hotel.
Location: Monte Christo – 100 Springvale Road, Orchard Garden – 576 Dunstan Road, Post office Cafe – 2 Blyth Street, Bank Cafe – 31 Sunderland Street and Dunstan Hotel – 35 Sunderland Street.
9. Check Out Cromwell or Alexandra
If for some crazy reason the above activities weren’t appealing enough, then you are never too far from more amazing scenery, interesting towns and amazing activities. Just a short drive or cycle south is the town of Alexandra or head on a scenic drive north along the Cromwell Gorge to the town of Cromwell. Find some inspiration in the 10 Damn Good Things to Do in Cromwell and 10 Amazing Things to Do in Alexandra.
Location: Cromwell – 23km north of Clyde, Alexandra – 7km south of Clyde