The Central App

My Town: Central

The Central App

Anna Robb

23 January 2024, 1:30 AM

My Town: CentralPerfect for some water time; Lake Dunstan, and the boat ramp on the Fruitgrowers Rd side. PHOTO: Supplied

 Welcome to the next installment of our "My Town" series.

This initiative is to find the charm and attractions of diverse small townships nestled in the heart of Central Otago. Our aim is to provide holiday-makers with an immersive experience that delves far beyond the well-known landmarks, such as Cromwell’s iconic big fruit sculpture and the majestic Clyde Dam. The series will unfold with weekly releases every Saturday and Wednesday until the 26 of January. Over this period, we will cover towns of Central Otago, exposing the region's hidden treasures from a locals perspective.

Episode 12. Central, an overall look at our wider district.

Central App reporter Anna Robb shares her highlights from across Central, population 26,000.

How did your story in Central begin? 

My family moved to Alexandra in September 2021 from Auckland, after we sold our business and decided to move to be closer to whānau.

We had holidayed here, skied and swum for many years, and we always wanted to come home to the South Island. Being stuck in the city during Covid-19 made us realise we wanted a different life for our children. 

What do you think is one of Central’s hidden treasures and why?

The Manorburn Dam, it’s a cool four wheel drive road to get there and one of Central’s stunning wild rocky places. A great place to take the kids fishing and get away from all things tech (there’s no reception).

Dylan (7) casting one January evening at the Manorburn Dam. PHOTO: Supplied

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone planning a visit?

Unlike Queenstown and Wānaka, there aren’t taxis, so you have to be organised with transport if you’re having a few drinks. There are locally owned shuttles you can pre book.

What’s something people planning a visit should bring with them?

Bring a woolly beanie. Even in the warmer months, the mornings can be chilly. They are often the best time to get a coffee and go for a hike, bike ride or run to clear your head.

What’s one thing about Central that might surprise a visitor?

Wild Thyme is literally everywhere and when you’re out exploring you can smell it on the breeze. 

Flowering Thyme on show at Matangi Station MTB park above Alexandra. PHOTO: Supplied 

Where in Central do you like to escape to and why?

There is a sweet little hidden picnic spot alongside Lake Dunstan where there are trees for shelter, and it’s great for wakeboarding, ski biscuiting and swimming with my kids, nieces and nephews.