Once the most populated town in New Zealand, during the height of the 1860s gold rush, Clyde is located between Alexandra in the south and Cromwell in the north, on the Clutha River.  It was originally called Dunstan, changing to its present name in 1865, in honour of Colin Campbell, 1st Baron Clyde. Originally a vibrant gold mining town, it's perhaps most famous today for the Clyde Dam, built in the 1980s, which sits at the northern end of the town, the artificial Lake Dunstan beyond. 

The building of the dam necessitated huge changes not just to the local landscape, but to homes and people. The Otago Central Railway used to terminate at Cromwell, via Clyde, but this final leg was covered over by the dam project.

Clyde, therefore, is now the proud 'head' of the Otago Central Rail Trail, and is where most visitors will come to begin their walking or cycling journey, as they set off for the next stop, 10km away at Alexandra.

As a consequence, this small town gets very busy in the summer months, the draw of the surrounding orchards and vineyards (particularly around Earnsclough), adding to the influx.

The annual Blossom Festival, held primarily in Alexandra, also includes many events in Clyde, and the two townships often come together as one, for the month of September.

The historic centre of Clyde is found around the north end of Sunderland Street, with the Dunstan Hotel, some great cafes, the impressive timber Dunstan House B&B, and the grandiose Masonic Lodge, of particular interest.

Clyde is also home to Dunstan Hospital, the area's main medical centre, with the original structure dating from the 1860s. It sits behind the vast Clyde Recreational Reserve, just one of the many pleasant green spaces in the town, which also includes a small golf course.

If you're up for a bit of culture, there are three museums in Clyde – the Herb Museum, the Station Museum (a beautiful old building right on the tracks) and the Clyde Museum, which contains a potted history of Clyde's gold mining heritage, plus a detailed insight into the dam project.

Accommodation is surprisingly plentiful in Clyde, but you do have to book early between October and March, especially if you're finishing the Rail Trail here and need somewhere to crash out in celebration.

For eating out, head for The Bank Cafe or Dunstan Hotel on Sunderland Street, or try the Post Office Cafe And Bar just further down on Blyth Street.