How to Visit Alexandra and Clyde on a Budget
Find relief from the notorious tourist hotspots in Central Otago with the more affordable destinations of Alexandra and Clyde. Appealing for their dry climate, vineyards and cycle trails, these two small towns sit alongside the mighty Clutha River, boasting free and affordable ways to experience the landscape and industries. You are even welcome to stay awhile in the budget motels and holiday homes or one of the old-school backpackers and hotel accommodation. Find out more in this complete travel guide to Alexandra and Clyde on a budget.
Tips for Visiting Alexandra and Clyde on a Budget
- Stay in Alexandra’s budget accommodation to save money on accommodation. Note that there are holiday parks in town that are not listed on booking websites so you’ll need to book directly
- There are hostels in town, as listed in 6 Best Backpacker Hostels in Alexandra & Clyde – most only take direct booking while some are listed on Airbnb
- Stay in self-catering accommodation to make your own meals and save money on food – there are New World, Four Square and Bin Inn supermarkets in Alexandra
- A freedom camping spot for self-contained vehicles is at Pinders Pond in Roxburgh
- Be choosey about the paid activities you want to do – do some research using the 12 Best Things to Do in Alexandra and 9 Best Things to Do in Clyde
- Fill up the rest of your itinerary with the free and cheap things to do in Alexandra and Clyde.
For more general budget advice, see the 11 Ways to Save Money When Backpacking in New Zealand.
Free Activities in Alexandra and Clyde
Walks, historical sites, museums and vineyards make up some of the things you can enjoy in Alexandra and Clyde on a budget.
Alexandra Mountain Clock
Our recommendation for when you first arrive in Alexandra is to get 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 a vineyard, head up the hill to the giant timepiece for sweeping views of Alexandra, its two rivers and surrounding mountains.
Historic Walks and Museums
While the Shaky Bridge is just a taste of Alexandra and Clyde’s history, more can be delved into at the two towns’ museums. In fact, they call Clyde town itself the “living museum” where you can pick up a “Walk Around Historic Clyde” brochure to read up on all its gold rush buildings 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. In Alexandra, the Central Stories Museum & Art Gallery is a free museum with exhibitions on gold mining, gold dredging, geology and also has an enclosure for live Otago skinks.
Free Wine Tastings
Finally, did you know you can have a winery experience in Alexandra and Clyde for free? Grey Ridge Vineyard is a boutique vineyard in Alexandra 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. You can also visit other wineries in the region, with most having an affordable tasting fee of NZ$5-$10. Learn more in the 10 Best Wineries in Alexandra.
For more free activities, head to the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Alexandra & Clyde.
Cheap Activities in Alexandra and Clyde
When it comes to activities that have a price tag, we’ve selected the ones that shouldn’t send you over budget.
For instance, the main attractions of Alexandra and Clyde are its surrounding cycle trails, particularly the ones that are classed as Great Rides: 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 from Central Cycle Trail Co., Bike it Now, Shebikeshebikes, Trail Journeys and more. With bike hire starting from NZ$40 a day, you can enjoy some of the day trails around the area. For instance, we recommend riding the 150th Anniversary Trail alongside the Clutha River between Clyde and Alexandra and returning on the Otago Central Rail Trail back to Clyde, which is approximately 20km (12 miles). That way, you won’t need to pay for shuttle transport. Find out more about the trails in the 5 Best Bike Trails in Alexandra & Clyde.
Golf is also pretty affordable in Alexandra and Clyde, but especially Clyde with the 9-hole course fee at the Dunstan Golf Club costing a mere NZ$25. 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, however, that club hire is usually an additional NZ$35.
Finally, complete your day with a relaxing boutique cinema experience. Again, 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.
For more cheap activities, check out the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Alexandra & Clyde.
Cheap Eats in Alexandra and Clyde
If you want to sample the local cuisine for a reasonable price, then there are a few cheap eats in Alexandra and Clyde worth seeking out if you’re visiting Alexandra on a budget. Spoiler: they mostly include pies.
Cream buns, muffins, cookies, bread pudding, cobbler, pies, bread and more: Avenue Bakery (61 Centennial Avenue) is a classic Kiwi bakery with reasonably-priced treats. Speaking of pies, you might also want to pop into Eat Humble Pie (Centrepoint Mall) 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 (18 Sunderland Street) for its affordable coffee, burgers, pies, sausage rolls and more.
For cheap takeaways, pick up some Turkish delights from Kebab Time (51 Centennial Avenue) in Alexandra for its cheap range of kebab wraps and meal deals for under NZ$15. If all else fails, there’s always the fast-food restaurants in town, including KFC, Subway and Domino’s Pizza.
For more restaurant recommendations, see The Foodie Guide to Alexandra & Clyde.
More About Alexandra and Clyde on a Budget
That’s it from the travel guide to Alexandra and Clyde on a budget. Now plan more of your trip using the advice in the following guides:
- The Travel Guide to Alexandra & Clyde for Families
- The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Alexandra & Clyde
- The Complete Travel Guide to Alexandra & Clyde
Finally, check out even more money-saving tips in The Travel Guide to New Zealand on a Budget.