A great start to Otago cycle trail network & heritage trails
A town where welcomes are guaranteed. Visitors are appreciated for the effort turning up. Middlemarch with its gold mining heritage, artefacts, relics, drop dead goregous scenery and plenty of things to do and see is well worth the detour. The museum is a great place to start your exploration with brochures, handy tips from the volunteers and one of kind gifts. Then its out into the great outdoors to explore.
Dunedin 80km 1 hour
WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS
- Sutton Salt Lake winter views with a great cycling and walking trail
- Walks and tracks from short easy strolls to multiple day tramsp to the top of Rock and Pillars Range
- Photographers dream location, landscape panoramic views a speciality
- Stargazing with very little light pollution
The Otago rail cycle trail starts at Middlemarch. Other activities include visiting the remote tussock lands of Te Papanui Scenic Reserve and exploring the many side roads. The town has an excellent volunteer managed museum with craft galleries and cafes serving flat white coffees with the best of them. The town boasts of a golf course and swimming pool. During summer when the Taieri Gorge Train arrives pop up craft shops open at the heritage railway station specialising in local artisan goods. The town is beguiling weaving a spell over visit.
FAMOUS ADOPTED LOCALS
- DWARFS FROM LORD OF RINGS, Andy Serkis, who played Gollum, is quoted as saying “aid, “I can honestly say this is my favourite place in the whole of Middle-earth.” For those visitors who are not aware of Sir Peter Jackson and his film credits, Middlemarch certainly helped put him on the map.
- Gold rush era has numerous tales of scandalous goings on, check out the local museum for details.
WHERE TO TAKE A SELFIE
- Two merino Oamaru stone sheep forever waiting outside the local pub. The sheep are straddling schist pillars
- Middlemarch Singles Dance (Easter) hopeful romantics are invited to town
- Strath Taieri A&P Show (March)
- Taieri Gorge vintage train
- 4WD Farm tours
- Swim under the photogenic Sutton Suspension Bridge
- A & P Showgrounds has an astro-turf sports field, vintage tractor and contemporary play equipment
- 156 in town & 600 in the wider Strath Taieri region (sheep shearing season sees town population increase by 300
Spend a day or two exploring the district
- “Middlemarch rocks” The pun is great with its references to being the coolest place in Central Otago as well as Rock and Pillar Ranges.
WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED THE MIDDLEMARCH?
Perhaps the town’s name was favourite author, George Elliot’s novel Middlemarch. Another idea is the name is from the obsolete word “march” meaning a boundary, the location is between two rivers. Then another theory for the town’s name is the redoubtable John Turnbull Thomson surveyor of Maniototo area, might have been recalling the Middle March region of his native Northumberland.
Unique journeys, personal adventures.