Jackson’s Inlet, Lake Dunstan

Jackson’s Inlet, Lake Dunstan

At about the time in my podcast that Ms Patterson (The Mushroom Cook) was discovering that the Australian police were a little suspicious about her actions and that she would be facing charges of both murder and attempted murder, I was coming into view of Lake Dunstan. This was at Bruce Jackson Point, above where the old Cromwell township used to be, before the lake was formed. As I continued along State Highway 8, I now had the lake for company out of the right hand window, and a truly lovely scene it was. I rounded a bend and was greeted by a serene view of the lake. It was placid and tranquil as the mid-morning sun took over the surrounding hills that once formed the Cromwell Gorge. Not being able to resist, I called in to a picnic area at Jackson’s Inlet for a closer look. 

When I arrived an elderly couple were just packing up a picnic that they had been having under a row of Poplar trees. The trees were covered in golden leaves, glowing in the mid-morning air and not a breath of wind was out on the lake. It looked rather pleasant and somewhat idyllic. Standing on the shoreline, looking out to my picturesque and blissful surroundings, I found myself for the second time that morning tempted to start negotiating a time of departure. Alas, aware that I had a prior appointment to get to in Dunedin, I went back to my car and rejoined the line of traffic that was snaking its way past Lake Dunstan to Clyde and further on Alexandra. 

The Dunstan

Dunstan House – Buy 

At one point in history, The Dunstan Hotel, or ‘The Dunstan’ as it was known locally was the most popular spot in Otago and possibly the entire country. At the height of the Otago Rush, miners from all over New Zealand and the world were flocking to the Otago region, as news of the ‘The Rush’ spread. The gold rush caused many small towns to grow rapidly, one of which was Cylde, known at the time as Dunstan. The Dunstan Hotel was originally built in 1863 and not only featured accommodation but dining, drawing and smoking rooms, as well as a theatre for Saturday night entertainment. It was also the stopping point for the famed Cobb & Co’s coaches that ran from Dunedin to ‘The Dunstan’ and journeyed further on to Arrowtown and Queenstown.

The Hills Of Clyde

The Hills Of Clyde – Buy 

I would like to suggest, and I’m talking from experience, that walking the hills above Clyde on a winter’s morning really is a unique experience. What made it all the more interesting was the fact that it was dark when I set out, there was a hard frost on the road, snow on the surrounding peaks and it was at least minus 4. 

I knew there was a lookout somewhere nearby, a bartender had told me about it the previous night and I had set out in the predawn darkness with lofty ambitions to find it. That morning, when I reached a point that was more ice than road, I left my car parked in a spot where I hoped I would find it again and enjoyed walking the hills on a winter’s morning.

Dunstan House In Clyde

Dunstan House Foyer – Buy 

If you get the chance to stay in the Dunstan House Hotel you shouldn’t pass it up. The current building dates back to 1900, however it was a replacement for the original building that was constructed in the 1860’s during the gold rush. 

When I was there, I could imagine the dust flying as an old Cobb & Co coach pulled up outside with fresh supplies for the gold fields. The building has all sorts of stories to tell, some of which I heard from the owners. One goes along the lines of, back in the gold rush days the house had hatch from the cellar to the bar where dancing girls would pop up from to entertain the miners.

Dunstan House In Clyde

Dunstan HouseBuy or view the Ōtepoti | Dunedin gallery

Arriving in Clyde I found my way to Dunstan House where I was booked for the night. Some days back, anticipating a stay in Clyde I phoned ahead. I was fortunate to get a room in the historic building as all the rooms but one were full. Upon arrival and after checking in, I discovered two things. Firstly, all the rooms were named after local people. My room was the John Holloway Room. Named after a local stone mason who completed the stone work for the very building I was staying around the year 1900. 

The second thing I discovered was upon talking to the owners, it transpired that earlier that day an entire party had cancelled their stay for the night. This left all the rooms but mine empty, meaning I pretty much had the whole building to myself. 

Venturing back out into the streets of Clyde I joined the mix of holiday makers and locals who were making the most of the fine summer weather and strolling the streets. Later, back at Dunstan House I sat on the balcony, enjoyed a beer, read a book and listened to dusk settle upon the town. 

Feeling the need to eat, I made my way to a place called Paulina’s. A busy bar and restaurant that was doing a brisk trade. Fighting my way to a table and feeling lucky to get one, a young and enthusiastic waitress arrived to inform me that there would be a good wait for food. With the sunshine on my back, I happily settled into my book and enjoyed a pint or three. I ate, strolled the town once more, then returned back to Dunstan House and settled in for the night.

What to find out more about Clyde including places to stay, places to play, places to explore and lots more information? Visit the Clyde: https://www.newzealand.com/nz/clyde/