Otago Region, New Zealand

If you’re visiting the Moeraki boulders then you will most likely be extending your travels around the beautiful greater Otago region, where there’s dramatic landscapes, mountains, snow, some of the best skiing in the world, world class wineries in Central Otago, and so much to see, so many places to go, and so much to do.

Balclutha

You’ll come to Balclutha on State Hwy 1 in south eastern Otago. The town is cut through by the Clutha River, and even has its own small airport. State Highway 1 goes straight through Balclutha township which makes it a fantastic and convenient stop off point on your road trip.

Scenic Balclutha and the hsitoric Balclutha Road Bridge

Scenic Balclutha and the hsitoric Balclutha Road Bridge. (photo: iTravelNZ)

After the mighty Waikato River on the North Island, the Clutha is the second longest river in New Zealand. The river provides plenty of opportunities for activities like fishing and boating, as well as relaxing sightseeing for those who prefer a quieter experience.

Clutha River at Balclutha at sunset

The Clutha River is spectacular at sunset. (photo: Kathrin & Stefan Marks)

If you want to visit the spectacular natural beauty of The Catlins, including the wonderous this important remnant of temperate rainforest that once covered the region, Balclutha is the closest large town to base yourself.

Walk to the Matai Falls in the Catlins NZ

Walk to the Matai Falls in the Catlins NZ (photo: iTravelNZ)

Locals often refer to Balclutha simply by the name “Clutha” which originates as a Scottish name.

The Balclutha Road Bridge is a landmark you can’t miss, built back in the 1930’s and listed on the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

Things To Do In and Near Balclutha

Nature

Balclutha is home and within arms reach of some stunning natural beauty. As well as the important and spectacular Catlins area,

This makes the town a special place to stop at for visitors wanting to eperience the unique natural environment of New Zealand’s south island.

Photography

As you can see from some of the stunning photos on this page, Balclutha and surrounds provides plenty of visual opportunities for amazing photography; especially if you head out early morning, late afternoon at sunset, or on misty days where the atmosphere makes for some very special photos. Your imagine is the limit when it comes to taking stunning shots of Balclutha and the surrounding areas; feel free to submit them to this site as we love to share high quality photographs on this page!

Balclutha New Zealand sunset

Balclutha provides stunning scenes for photography enthusiasts. (photo: iTravelNZ)

Historic

Balclutha has a rich history which is well worth exploring if you have the time and interest!

Accommodation

There are a number of options for places to stay while you’re in Clutha and exploring the local area. Most of the lodging facilities are located in the southern section of the town south of the river.

Hotel South Otago 13 Clyde St
Highway Lodge Motel 165 Clyde St
Rosebank Lodge Motor Hotel 265 Clyde St
Riverside Retreat Hospital Rd
Balclutha Motor Camp (Holiday Park) 56 Charlotte St, Naish Park

Helensborough Motor Inn23 Essex St (north of the river)

The peaceful Balclutha River in Otago NZ

The peaceful Balclutha River. (photo: iTravelNZ)

iSite

The Clutha iSite is located at 4 Clyde St, at the Balclutha District War Memorial building.


Glenorchy

Glenorchy is 45km from Queenstown, and sits at the north of Lake Wakatipu and south of the NZ South Island’s most spectacular alpine regions including Mount Aspiring National Park.

And it’s not just any old drive to get you to Glenorchy. This is one of the most breathtaking drives in New Zealand; in fact, in the entire world.

The truly spectacular rivers and lakes are pristine, and the surrounding ancient forests of beech and a backdrop of snow-capped mountains makes Glenorchy look like something out of a fantasy film (well, actually, it is. See our mention below about which films Glenorchy has starred in).

It’s a small town which is popular with visitors who are keen to explore the mountains. Hiking (tramping) opportunities are in abundance when you base yourself at Glenorchy. The great multi-day Routeburn Track is just one of these walks, but there are many others:

Walking Tracks Near Glenorchy

  • Routeburn Track
  • Greenstone Track
  • Caples Track
  • Rees-Dart Track
Glenorchy is a gateway to the world famous Routeburn Track

Glenorchy is a gateway to the world famous Routeburn Track. (Photo: Ilya Grigorik)

The short and easy Glenorchy Lagoon walk is also a must-do for visitors, and is a great choice for families with young kids. This walk is near the Golf Club and is a loop track that goes through the attractive lagoon.

Glenorchy On The Big Screen

Glenorchy is one of many locations in New Zealand that were featured in The Lord of the Rings films. Once you’ve seen the spectacular landscapes here, you can see why it was chosen to represent Middle Earth. A number of other movies over the years have also had scenes filmed in and around Glenorchy, such is the awe inspiring natural beauty of the region. A short list of films that have been filmed at Glenorchy include:

  • Lord of the Rings
  • Vertical Limit
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  • Race for the Yankee Zephyr
  • The Water Horse

Glenorchy really is a secret paradise that provides so many rewards for those who make the short trip from the hustle and bustle of Queenstown, while you’re in the Otago region.

A spectacular clear day near Glenorchy

A spectacular clear day near Glenorchy