Clyde, New Zealand

Clyde, formerly Dunstan, is a small town in Central Otago, New Zealand with a population of 1023 in 2018.[2] It is located on the Clutha River, between Cromwell and Alexandra.

Clyde, Central Otago, New Zealand
Location of Clyde within New Zealand
Coordinates: 45°11′S 169°19′E
CountryNew Zealand
Territorial authorityCentral Otago District Council
 (June 2020)[1]
  Urban area1,200
Time zoneUTC+12 (NZST)
  Summer (DST)UTC+13 (NZDT)
Local iwiNgāi Tahu

Clyde grew up around the former settlement of Dunstan during the Central Otago goldrush of the 1860s. The town could once claim to be the most populous in New Zealand during the height of gold fever. The town's post office (and thus the town) was officially renamed from Dunstan to Clyde on 22 May 1865, after Lord Clyde.[3]

More recently the town has been known for the Clyde Dam, a giant hydroelectric dam at the north end of the town, behind which lies Lake Dunstan. The Clutha River is the swiftest river (per volume) in the southern hemisphere. The river then runs to the Roxburgh Dam before finally meeting the sea at Balclutha.

The town is a popular holiday spot. It lies at the western end of the Otago Central Rail Trail. The Otago Central Branch Railway originally terminated at Cromwell, but this section of the railway was closed in 1980, with the railway to Clyde used to bring materials for the dam project. The rail trail is nowadays often cycled and walked by visitors and locals alike.

The township is home to Dunstan Hospital, serving the surrounding district, including Alexandra and Cromwell. The hospital was rebuilt in 2006 with the original building remaining.

Clyde is fast becoming known as a tourist haven. The location is particularly attractive to those visiting the region's many vineyards and orchards. The regional weather is particularly warm and dry during the summer months due to the rain shadow effect caused by the Southern Alps (given New Zealand's westerly winds).

During the week beginning 22 September, the Clyde/Alexandra district hosts a Blossom Festival. This event celebrates the beginning of spring which brings the blossoming of fruit trees in the area's orchards. Entertainment at the festival includes a parade with floats made by local businesses, fun park rides, and bands.