Central Otago Region, South Island New Zealand
The Otago region is in South Island a region with vast landscapes, snow capped mountains and blue glacial rivers, there's something for everyone from white water rafting, horse trekking, visiting the old gold mines or wine tasting in the many vineyards.
Omakau is a small town in the Central Otago region of New Zealand, located between Alexandra and Ranfurly on the northwest bank of the Manuherikia River. During the 1860s the Manuherikia was one of the centres of the Central Otago Gold Rush.
Omakau grew when the Otago Central Railway was opened in 1904. Today Omakau has a population of about 250, and is a stopover on both State Highway 85 and the Otago Rail Trail.
Omakau is the site of many historic buildings, including the local hotel built in 1898 and the Catholic Church. Omakau also hosts the Central Otago A&P Show at the local domain, which attracts people from all over the country in February.
The smaller settlement of Ophir is located on the opposite bank, three kilometres to the southeast of Omakau. Ophir was originally known as Blacks, when gold was discovered in Central Otago in 1863 Ophir's population grew to over 1000 as it became the commercial and social centre of the district. It was renamed Ophir at this time which was where King Solomon obtained the gold to sheath the Temple in Jerusalem, and is thus the place name of the legendary "King Solomon's Goldmines".
Maps of the area, showing Hawks View in Omakau, Otago Region, New Zealand:
The Otago Central Rail Trail extends for 150 scenic kilometres across the sub-alpine countryside between Clyde and Middlemarch. This section of former railway line has been redeveloped by the Otago Central Rail Trail Trust and the Department of Conservation. The trail is designed for use by walkers, cyclists and horse riders who can enjoy the unique Central Otago scenery and experience a sense of remoteness and history in the South Island of New Zealand.
A special feature of the trail is the section between Lauder and Auripo. This section contains the longest bridge on the trail at 111.8 metres and two tunnels which have been cut through the schist hillside. All the bridges have been redecked and have had handrails added.
The trail takes approximately four days to travel in its full length by cycle or approximately six days by foot.
The small town of Clyde is located on the Clutha River, a short drive from Alexandra in Central Otago. Not far from Clyde is the Clyde Dam, a giant hydroelectric dam.
Middlemarch is a small town located at the foot of the Rock and Pillar Range in the Strath-Taieri Valley. Middlemarch lies about 80 kilometres west of Dunedin City in Otago.
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