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About Alexandra & Central Otago

About Alexandra and Central Otago

Central Otago

 Central Otago’s open spaces and clean living are unsurpassed anywhere in the world. Local people have the reassurance of a place that will protect the natural resources of the area for generations to come.  Central Otago District population - 17,892 (2013 Census).

 Central Otago has a wide range of services with excellent schools and medical services. The small compact towns have a stable workforce, high levels of education and a high level of community involvement.  Each proud local community has its own distinctive character.


 Alexandra

 Alexandra, with a population of 4,800 (2013 Census) is Central Otago’s largest town and the administrative centre for the district. It is situated at the confluence of the Clutha and Manuherikia Rivers. Alexandra was the site of several early settlements arising from the gold rush of the 1850s, but was not given the name Alexandra until 1863. Alexandra is now a thriving agricultural servicing centre and stopping place for visitors with a wide range of accommodation.

Alexandra is the service centre for a significant stone-fruit industry, which is celebrated by a blossom festival in the town each spring. Grape production is another major industry in the Central Otago wine region.

 The town is a popular holiday destination. Alexandra is perhaps best known for its annual event, the Alexandra Blossom Festival. The Alexandra Blossom Festival celebrates the advent of Spring in the Central Otago District as evidenced by the blooming of the fruit trees.

 

Clyde

 Clyde, population 1,011 (2013 Census), is just 10 minutes up the Clutha River from Alexandra and the site of the massive Clyde hydroelectric dam, is a particularly well preserved town dating back to the gold mining days. The town has been experiencing significant growth with several new subdivisions being developed in recent years and is a popular holiday place with first-rate restaurants, cafes and accommodation.

 

Omakau

 Omakau (population approximately 140) is on State Highway 85, between Alexandra and Ranfurly, 27km from Alexandra. The town is the product of the Central Otago railway which reached the district in 1904. It is a service centre for the farming industry in the Manuherikia Valley, with a general store, hotel, garage, police station, sports domain, golf course and camping ground. The railway line, closed in the 1980s, is now part of the Central Otago Rail Trail which is popular with walkers and cyclists.



Ophir

 Ophir is 2km from Omakau, across the Manuherikia River by either a modern bridge or the 1880 stone suspension bridge a kilometre downstream from Omakau. The village (pop 40) was originally named Blacks when gold was discovered there in 1863, drawing 1000 miners. It was renamed Ophir in 1866 after the unknown biblical country (1 Kings 9:28: "...and they went to Ophir and brought from there gold."). Some of the original 19th century buildings remain in the main street and Ophir is a popular holiday town. 



Weather

 Alexandra experiences a very dry oceanic climate, so dry in fact, that it barely escapes being classified as a semi-arid. The district is one of the farthest from a coastline in New Zealand and experiences cold winters and warm summers relative to the rest of the country. Temperatures regularly drop below zero in winter and will rise above thirty degrees Celsius in the summer months. It is known to be one of the warmest areas in New Zealand during summer.

 The seasons are sharply defined: summers are typified by long days (daylight lasts until 10pm) that are hot and low in humidity; autumn sees cooler evenings with hot and still days shortening as we head into winter; winter mornings are often misty, the days cloudless and windless and the nights freezing; while spring sees a return to warmer weather with typical equinox winds.

 Climate data for Alexandra


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Year

Average high °C

23.5

23.8

21.5

17.5

12.4

7.5

7.9

11.4

15

17.5

20.2

22.1

16.7

Average low °C

10.6

10.5

8.7

5.1

1.5

−1.7

−1.8

−0.4

2.9

5.5

7.6

9.9

4.9

Precipitation mm

29

22

40

34

35

26

23

24

27

41

26

43

360

Source: NIWA Climate Data

 

Residential and Rural Driving Conditions

The roads are very good quality, long and straight and are seldom crowded, however in winter, icy roads can be a problem so take extra caution particularly in those areas that are shaded to the north by surrounding hills, and that don’t see the sun.  4WD vehicles and chains are important to carry if you intend to venture out in these conditions.  A few gravel roads exist in rural areas.

 Travel times between Central Otago towns and other major population centres are estimated below. These travel times are calculated for driving at 80 to 100 km per hour on open stretches, with an allowance for traffic delays, petrol stops and refreshments.

Distance measured in Kilometres


Alexandra

Clyde

Cromwell

Roxburgh

Ranfurly

Wanaka

Queenstown

Invercargill

Dunedin

Christchurch

Alexandra


7 km

31 km

41 km

88 km

86 km

93 km

202 km

190 km

455 km

Clyde

4 min


24 km

48 km

90 km

79 km

100 km

209 km

197 km

448 km

Cromwell

30 min

25 min


72 km

119 km

55 km

62 km

233 km

221 km

410 km

Roxburgh

30 min

35 min

1 hr


129 km

127 km

134 km

161 km

155 km

496 km

Ranfurly

1 hr

1.10 hr

2 hr

1.30 hr


125 km

181 km

287 km

130 km

394 km

Wanaka

1.15 hr

1.10 hr

45 min

1.30 hr

1 hr


117 km

285 km

355 km

424 km

Queenstown

1.15 hr

1.10 hr

50 min

1.30 hr

2.10 hr

1.40 hr


187 km

283 km

486 km

Invercargill

2.55 hr

3 hr

3.10 hr

2 hr

3.30 hr

4.50 hr

2.40 hr


217 km

579 km

Dunedin

2.45 hr

2.50 hr

3.10 hr

2.15 hr

1.30 hr

3.55 hr

4.30 hr

3.30 hr


362 km

Christchurch

6.30 hr

6.25 hr

5.45 hr

6 hr

4 hr

5.50 hr

6.55 hr

8.15 hr

5.10 hr


Time shown in approximate hours & minutes


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