Ophir is 5 minutes drive or half an hour cycle from Lauder
via Omakau. Stroll along the historic main street of Ophir,
once a bustling gold town. The massive kerb stones tell of the
inhabitants then belief in the continuing supply of gold and
desire to invest in the town. Many of the old buildings and
houses along the main street tell a tale of goldrush days.
Gold has recently been discovered again locally in a quantity
worth investigating further. You never know - the gold rush
days of Ophir may not be a thing of the past after all.
Admire one of the last remaining suspension bridges in Central
Otago. The magnificent Daniel O'Connell bridge, opened in 1880,
is testimony to man's quest to conquer the unconquerable and
a feat of engineering brilliance and beauty built into solid
rock without the advantage of modern machinery.
Dansey's Pass, Oamaru and Moeraki make a good day round trip.
Follow the old miners trail across Dansey's Pass from the Maniototo
to the grand Waitaki Valley and historic Oamaru. This pass takes
you through historic mining country to the top of the world.
The views are spectacular on both sides. Dansey's Pass is fine
for 2WD in late spring through to early autumn. 4WD is recommended
at other times.
Oamaru is famous for its white stone - both stone and cheese.
Visit the historic centre and port of Oamaru where history oozes
from every corner and building. It is easy to imagine yourself
back in the 1880s as you walk around the streets admiring the
historic white stone buildings many of which have been lovingly
restored to their former glory.
Take a short drive to visit the yellow-eyed and little blue
penguin colonies. Call at the Information Centre in the main
street for details of the best times for sighting the penguins.
Drive south from Oamaru and visit the fascinating Moeraki Boulders.
Marvel at how nature has produced such wonders similar to how
an oyster creates a pearl.
Make sure you book for lunch or dinner at Fleur's fish restaurant
in Moeraki. It is well worth the drive with the fish freshly
landed from the local fishing boats.
This is lovey day trip. Arrowton is an easy and interesting
1 hour 15 minutes drive from Lauder. Along the way you pass
the Clyde Dam and travel along the banks of Lake Dunstan and
through the magnificent Kawarau Gorge. The lake is a great place
to stop for a summer picnic.
Stop on the way to explore the historic Kawarau Chinese mining
Arrowtown is an historic gold town still displaying the character
of bygone days with the luxury of both quaint and stylish shops
Browse in shops offering NZ designer clothing, jewellery and
art, the Remarkable Sweet Shop with its many different flavours
of fudge made on the premises, the chocolaterie, Arrowtown Bakery
(offering a great range of yummy pies) and souvenir shops. The
Arrowtown museum is definitely worth a visit with extensive
information on the gold mining history of the local area.
For the energetic the full day walk to Macetown, the uninhabited
gold town up the Arrow River, is a must. Alternatively explore
the historic Chinese Settlement along the river, take a walk
up the river following the water pipe line or down river along
the Centennial Walkway. In spring and early summer the banks
of the Arrow River are adorned with a blaze of colour from the
For lazier days catch a movie at Dorothy Brown's cinema, reclining
in the luxuriously sumptuous seats and enjoy local wine and
a cheese board at interval.
Make a day of it and stay for dinner at Pesto (pasta and pizza),
Saffron (a special treat) or the Stables (good home cooking
and open fire) all of which should be preceeded or rounded off
with a drink at the cozy Blue Door bar which features live jazz
on the first Friday of the month.
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