Plan a Family Trip to Alexandra and Clyde
Escape the hustle and bustle of the nearby tourist hotspots and discover some of Central Otago’s off-the-beaten-track gems. Alexandra and the neighbouring town of Clyde sit alongside the majestic Clutha River with its vibrant blue waters and gorgeous river scenery. Cycling alongside the river is kind of a big deal here, as well as the iconic great rides of the Otago Central Rail Trail and Roxburgh Gorge Trail, which have sections ideal for kids. Alternatively, jet boating or soaking up the sun while raspberry picking in the renowned fruit-growing region are more ways to enjoy your time here with the little ones. You can even stay awhile in the towns’ family-friendly motels and holiday homes.
Plan your family trip to Central Otago with this travel guide to Alexandra and Clyde for families.
Things to Do in Alexandra and Clyde with Kids
- Ride the family-friendly cycle trails
- Pick raspberries at the Monte Christo Raspberry Cafe
- Cross the Shaky Bridge and climb up the hill to the Alexandra Clock
- Do a jet boat tour down the Roxburgh Gorge
- Explore Jolendale Park and Blackmore Park
- Do a 4WD safari of scenic gorges and lookouts
- Go ice skating in winter
- Check out the Central Stories Museum & Art Gallery
- Watch a movie at the Central Cinema.
For more details on each experience, see the 9 Things to Do in Alexandra & Clyde with Kids.
Family Adventure Activities
Adventure can be found in a multitude of ways in Alexandra and Clyde, but one of the most popular things to do in Alexandra for families is to hit the bike trails. Two of the cycle trails here are part of the New Zealand Great Rides and riding sections of them make for a fun family outing. The Otago Central Rail Trail begins in Clyde and, while the whole thing is 152km (94 miles), the first section offers a family-friendly ride between Clyde and Chatto Creek. For families with older children, the Roxburgh Gorge Trail takes you through canyon landscape with vibrant green waters in three different sections: 10km (6 miles) is from Alexandra to Doctors Point, then get on a boat and travel 12km (7 miles) down the lake to Shingle Creek, then 12km (7 miles) to the Roxburgh Dam. Alternatively, the 150th Anniversary River Track between Alexandra and Clyde is nothing to scoff at, following the blue waters of the Clutha River and passing abandoned mining relics on a 12km (7-mile) easy-going ride. Hire bikes, including kids’ bikes, and shuttle transport from Cycle Surgery in Clyde. Learn more about the cycle trails in the 5 Best Bike Trails in Alexandra & Clyde.
Whether you join them as part of the Roxburgh Gorge Trail or for one of their scenic thrill-rides, Beaumont Jet is another fantastic option for families. Jump in the high-speed jet boat powered by the New Zealand invention of a jet propulsion system for a journey down the Clutha River. There are two types of tours to choose from, the Adventure Tour, which incorporated history, sightseeing and 360º spins, and the Eco Tour, taking you and your family to a special conservation island to look out for rare birds, insects and plants.
Another part of Alexandra and Clyde’s identity is its fruit and grape-growing industry, where the most family-friendly way to get involved is by picking your own raspberries at the Monte Christo Raspberry Cafe. The cafe, which specialises in berry fruit desserts, homemade scones, Southland cheese rolls, real fruit ice cream, is set in a pretty flower garden with plenty for kids to explore. Plus, there’s a family play area with mini golf, puzzle mats, giant board games, a miniature train and much more.
For more family-friendly experiences, like a 4WD safari, check out the 9 Things to Do in Alexandra & Clyde with Kids.
All-weather Family Activities
Alexandra has one of the driest climates in New Zealand, so needing to find a rainy day activity isn’t likely to be necessary. Nevertheless, if you are unlucky, then at least you can rely on the small-town museum of Central Stories. Take the kids to learn about the region’s geology, early settlers, social history, gold mining, farming, orcharding, viticulture and much more!
Beside the museum, you’ll find Central Cinema. This boutique cinema screens a range of mainstream, art-house, documentaries, and, of course, children’s films. Sit back in the comfortable stadium seating in a charming cinema run by volunteers.
If all else fails, you can always pop into one of the family-friendly cafes of Clyde and Alexandra. Check out recommendations in The Foodie Guide to Alexandra & Clyde Y1648.
Free Family Activities
Complement your Alexandra and Clyde itinerary with some of the free family-friendly activities. A must-do is visiting Jolendale Park, a six-hectare arboretum which is home to a wide variety of exotic and native trees, as well as schist outcrops, sculpted walkways and a reservoir – all making for a fun environment for kids to explore. Adjacent to the reservoir, known as Lanes Dam, is Blackmore Park and its picnicking area with a children’s playground.
Finally, complete your visit to Alexandra with a short climb to the Alexandra Clock! The Clock on the Hill is not only a striking timepiece but offers excellent views of Alexandra and it’s vibrant rivers. The steep walk only takes about 10 minutes and starts from the historic Shaky Bridge, which is another aspect of Alexandra that kids tend to love!
For more free activities in the area, check out the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Alexandra & Clyde.