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ACTIVITIES FROM YOUR OTUREHUA BASE

FLY FISHING PARADISE

New Zealand's South Island is the home of world-class fly fishing.  Staying at Oturehua you are local to the excellent opportunities of the Taieri and Manuherikia as well as numerous productive creeks and reservoirs. These rivers offer every angler the opportunity to test their fly fishing skills against a wild population of Brown and Rainbow trout.  You are also well-located to vary up your trip with an excursion to the rivers of MacKenzie Country, such as the Ahuriri, Tekapo and Grays.

​All areas are rife with secret spots and conditions can sometimes demand a high level of casting skill and experience.

Our resident professional guide and South Island local of 32 years is Declan Wong (NZFGA member) and you can organise one-day or multi-day excursions with him through Rough Ridge or his website, Bodhi Trout.

POOLBURN DAM

Also known as Poolburn Reservoir we highly recommend a visit to this out-of-the-way expanse of water just a short drive from Oturehua along Moa Creek Road.  It was en route to the gold diggings of Central Otago during the 1860s gold rush.  

The resevoir is huge, with numerous fishing baches along its shore. 

It's fun to explore on foot or by bike, although you can't get all the way round.

The lake has a number of islands which provide good trout habitat.  Spin and fly fishing are the best methods to fish this water although bait fishing with worms is legal and popular with young anglers.

The Poolburn Reservoir was used to depict Rohan in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

NASEBY FOREST

Originally a gold mining settlement named Parkers, historic and charming Naseby nestles in the foothills of the Mount Ida Range in Central Otago.  The historic village consists of perfectly preserved buildings and shops including a friendly pub, general store and cafe.  The highlight for families, mountainbikers, hikers or those who want to simply picnic and swim, is the Naseby Forest.
Right from the middle of town there are various routes into the forest and numerous paths through it, with a water race and two swimming holes to help orientate yourself.  Mountainbikers will discover an exciting network of bike trails for all levels, leading off the main thoroughfares and weaving through the forest.

Swimming at Naseby Dam

A popular local spot. Lots of shady spots, picnic tables, playground and toilets alomg with shallow swimming make this an enticing spot for everyone.

If you're walking or biking in the forest, head for picture-perfect Hoffman's Dam, a great cool-off and swim spot!

NASEBY CURLING AND SKATING

Try ‘bowling on ice’ at the Maniototo Curling International Ice Rink at Naseby (indoor).

For winter outdoor fun, Naseby Ice Rink, Luge and Snowpark has been providing winter (June to August) entertainment for all ages since opening in 1991. Whether you enjoy skating, curling, hurtling down the ice luge or playing in the snow, you can have a great time doing it all at the Naseby Ice Rink, Luge & Snowpar

ST BATHANS AND BLUE LAKE

The former gold mining town of St Bathans – just 20 minutes from Oturehua, is famous for the reflections and sheer beauty of its transfixing Blue Lake.  It also has the reputation of being haunted...

The Vulcan Hotel is notable as possibly the country's most famous haunted building.  Room 1 of the hotel is reputedly home to the spirit of a young woman, thought by some to be a prostitute known "the Rose", who was strangled to death in the hotel in the 1880s.

St Bathans is also known for its striking man-made Blue Lake. By 1933, miners had sluiced the 120-metre Kildare Hill into a 69-metre "Glory Hole" - at that time the deepest mining hole in the Southern Hemisphere.

The operation had to be halted because the sides of the pit were getting too close to the town. The huge hole was filled with water, with the minerals in the surrounding rocks giving the lake its startling turquoise hue.

It might look idyllic - but the Blue Lake is said to be home to a few of its own ghosts. A barmaid supposedly drowned herself there after being jilted by her lover. Some believe long-deceased miners can be seen rising from its depths at night. 

If you're easily spooked, you might prefer St Bathans by day, where you can spend a leisurely afternoon in the scorching Central Otago sun admiring the village's heritage treasures or hiking around the Blue Lake.

GILCHRIST GENERAL STORE

Perhaps the most renowned historic building in Oturehua, still trading today with an interior little changed from when it first opened.  This is a working historical general store and has been operating continuously under the name of "Gilchrist" since 1902.  They stock fresh fruit and vegies, groceries, pies and sandwiches, ice-creams and lollies along with Grahame Sydney prints, poetry and other books by local authors .  Worth a browse just for the step back in time!

HAYES ENGINEERING WORKS, HOMESTEAD AND CAFE

A popular rest stop on the Otago Central Rail Trail, Hayes Engineering Works and Homestead is the legacy of English immigrants Ernest and Hannah Hayes, who settled in Central Otago after their arrival in 1882.

In a picturesque Central Otago setting, Hayes Engineering Works forms part of an industrious enclave that developed as demand for its products grew, alongside Ernest and Hannah’s family that expanded to nine children. Today, the rustic mud brick buildings and their authentic contents are remarkably well-preserved.

The workshop – with its labyrinth of overhead shafts, belts and pulleys driving various lathes, drills and saws – was previously powered by windmill and then a water Pelton wheel, but now runs on an electric motor. Offering fascinating insight into how things were created back then, the machinery is brought to life with lively commentary on four scheduled Operating Days and many other times throughout the summer.

Hannah Hayes, however, wasn’t confined to the house and farm. Dressed in ankle-length skirts, she made intrepid bicycle trips throughout the Maniototo and MacKenzie counties, seeking orders for Ernest’s early inventions. A colourful example of creativity and determination in the face of hardship and isolation, the Hayes family is an inspiration for us all.

Self-guided tours allow visitors to wander through the buildings and grounds, with pre-booked guided tours available throughout the season.  Along with a delightful gift store, there is a cafe offering delicious food and refreshments during the summer months (September to May).

GOLDEN PROGRESS QUARTZ MINE

Located up Reefs Road, 2 km East of Oturehua on Rough Ridge, are the remnants of the Golden Progress quartz mine. These workings are notable as they still retain an intact poppet head, the only surviving one in the Otago goldfields.  As you walk along the track to the poppet head you will also see tailings, a small stone hut and a dam.   This is one of the nicest local walks and you can carry on past the mine shafts up Rough Ridge.  It's an easy scramble that will reward you with stunning panoramic views of the Ida Valley, Oturehua and opposite you Mt St Bathans and the Hawkdun Range.

IDABURN DAM

The dam is way smaller than Poolburn, situated right on the roadside and next to the cycle trail, just on the outskirts of Oturehua.

It's a nice place for a short wander or water's edge picnic.  It has a small stock of Brown trout and is popular due to its ease of access.

MOUNTAINBIKE ADVENTURE ~ the MANUHERIKIA TRACKS

Part of the Oteake Conservation Park ~ the West and East Manuherikia valleys can be ridden in one long day ~ beautiful and remote, river crossings and BIG up and downs!

You ride up one valley, over the Omarama Saddle, down into MacKenzie country, then climb over the Little Omarama Saddle and descend back along the other valley.

A shorter variation is to ride a more technical link joining the two tracks ~ Saddle Ridge Track.  Another popular option is to keep riding all the way into Omarama and stay the night.  Then ride back the next day.  This is a highly recommended adventure ~ about 45km each day.

There are also DOC huts in the West Manuherikia.

 

 

 

 

 

CLIMB MT ST BATHANS

You can see the whole of Mt St Bathans in the Hawkdun Range from Oturehua.

At over 2000m it's no easy climb and will normally take 8-11 hours to complete the loop. Start from the West Manuherikia valley and follow the well-marked DOC markers.  Note: there is no shelter and the track is open and exposed to wind and weather at all times.  From the top the view is just breathtaking and includes snow-capped Mt Cook and the Southern Alps.

DANSEYS PASS

Driving the Danseys Pass is best in summer as the winter conditions make it technical and often impassable.

A highlight is to stop by the famous Danseys Pass Hotel ~ a welcome haven for weary travellers since 1865!  Nearby are the old Kyeburn Gold Diggings. Mining actually started here before the main discoveries at Naseby.  All that remins of the the butcher, bakers, hotels and a school is the Kyeburn Diggings Cemetery.  However, there is still much to be learnt and seen.  

THE WRITERS' RETREAT

Come to stay and write in Central Otago in the beautiful Ida Valley for the annual Writers' Retreat. Immerse yourself in history and the land. Be inspired to write, and learn new techniques.
 

At the heart of this writers’ retreat is community. Here, in Oturehua, people come together to look after their own and what’s around them.  In keeping with community, the tutors are all drawn from this valley and include a screen writer, essayist, poet, editor and former Poet Laureate. You’ll have time to learn, time to write and time to explore.

There’ll be a choice of interactions with local historical sites; Hayes Engineering and Homestead (saving simplicity in machinery and a way of life); the Strawbale House, featuring a mudbrick rebuild and techniques and creation of earthen floors (saving handmade materials, saving old processes); and Gilchrist’s General Store, with a focus on the book the community is writing on it (saving memories).
 

The village of Oturehua lies under the tor-covered horizon of Rough Ridge. Walk up into the rocks or just enjoy their sunlit beauty for a weekend of connection, reflection and writing.

Under Rough Ridge Writers' Retreat

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Things to Do near Oturehua

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Ride the Rail Trail

New Zealand's Original Great Ride offers some of the best cycling in New Zealand. Open all year round - ride without traffic, under Central Otago’s big skies.

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Drive time from Oturehua: 0 mins

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Poolburn Dam

Poolburn Reservoir, also known as Poolburn Dam, is a spectacular, wild spot, popular for fishing, biking and hiking.

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Drive time from Oturehua: 45 mins

Fly Fishing Central Otago

Fly Fishing Paradise

A dream fishing location, base yourself at Rough Ridge and fish for wild Brown and Rainbow trout with unsurpassed backdrops.

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Drive time from Oturehua: from 20 mins

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Writers Retreat

 

The fabulous Under Rough Ridge Writers Retreat is held annually and features local, award-winning New Zealand poets and writers.

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Drive time from Oturehua: 0 mins

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Naseby Forest

 

Easy access from Naseby townsip, the forest is a maze of mountainbike trails for all levels, water race trails for bikers and walkers plus secret swimming holes.

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Drive time from Oturehua: 20 mins

Naseby Curling

Naseby Curling & Skating

NZ's only indoor, year-round curling rink plus outdoor winter skating and curling, and an 800m ice luge through the forest!

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Drive time from Oturehua: 20 mins

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St Bathans and The Blue Lake

Visit the famous, historic Vulcan Hotel and take a walk around the beautiful and mysterious Blue Lake.  Maybe you'll meet the fabled ghost; The Rose!

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Drive time from Oturehua: 20 mins

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Gilchrists Store

Gilchrist’s, still in its original condition, has been serving the community since 1902, and is a central communication point for Oturehua residents.

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Drive time from Oturehua: 0 mins

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Hayes Engineering Works

and Homestead

Fabulous cafe (summer-only)

Hayes is the legacy of English immigrants Ernest and Hannah Hayes, who settled in Central Otago  in 1882.

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Drive time from Oturehua: 5 mins

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Golden Progress Quartz Mine

Carry on past the mine shafts up Rough Ridge.  Stunning panoramic views of the Ida Valley, Oturehua and opposite you Mt St Bathans and the Hawkdun Range.

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Drive time from Oturehua: 0 mins

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Idaburn Dam

The dam is situated just on the outskirts of Oturehua. It's a nice place for a short wander or water's edge picnic. 

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Drive time from Oturehua: 0 mins

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Swimming at Naseby Dam

A popular local spot and probably best swimming hole in the Maniototo area!  Lots of shady spots, picnic tables, playground and toilets.

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Drive time from Oturehua: 20 mins

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Mountain Bike Adventure

West and East Manuherikia can be ridden in one long day ~ beautiful and remote, river crossings and BIG up and downs!

Read more >>

Drive time from Oturehua: 0 mins

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Climb Mt St Bathans

At over 2000m it's no easy climb and will normally take 8-11 hours to complete the loop. Start from the West Manuherikia valley and follow the DOC markers. 

Read more >>

Drive time from Oturehua: 0 mins

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Danseys Pass

A highlight is to stop by the famous Danseys Pass Hotel ~ a welcome haven for weary travellers since 1865!  Nearby are the old Kyeburn Gold Diggings.

Read more >>

Drive time from Oturehua: 30 mins

Fly Fishing
Poolburn Dam
Naseby Forest
Naseby Curling
St Bathans
Gilchrist
Hayes
Golden Progress
Idaburn
Mountainbike
Climb St Bathans
Danseys Pass
Writers Retreat
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