Experience the Central Otago wilderness by making the charming town of Middlemarch your local base for hiking, biking and river fishing.
Middlemarch is a small town 80 kilometres west of Dunedin city. It sits at the foot of the Rock and Pillar Ranges in the broad Strath Taieri valley, through which flows the upper reaches of the Taieri River. The area has a typical Central Otago climate - snow-clad winters and hot, dry summers. The natural beauty of the area provides the perfect setting for recreational activities.
There are walks through the Rock and Pillar Ranges and to Sutton Salt Lake, New Zealand's only inland salt lake. In a landscape dominated by schist, the lake is enclosed in a 143 hectare scenic reserve. Water birds, native and exotic plants and photogenic rock tors provide a fascinating environment for nature lovers while runners and walkers will enjoy the easy undulating round trip to visit the lake which dries out in summer and fills up again in the winter. You may also like to visit the Taieri River, New Zealand's third longest, which has a variety of great spots for recreational fishermen looking for catches of brown trout and salmon.
Middlemarch is also the starting point for the Otago Central Rail Trail, a 150 kilometre hiking and biking trail that follows the route of the old railway line to the historic township of Clyde. When the original line was under construction, little settlements with schools for the railway families developed, only to be abandoned as work moved on. However, the odd family stayed to settle in the area and many of the historic stone buildings can be attributed to the skilled work of stone masons who once worked on the railway line.
The town of Middlemarch serves the local farming community and provides a great opportunity to meet friendly, self sufficient, 'real Kiwi' people. So popular are the rugged farming bachelors that Middlemarch hosts a huge annual singles' dance that's famous all over the country. Middlemarch is a one hour drive from Dunedin or you can catch the famous Taieri Gorge Railway from the historic Dunedin Railway Station.