Historic Clyde  LbNA # 8219

Placed DateMar 16 2004
CountyOther International
LocationQueenstown, South Island, New Zealand, INT
Found By 55 steps
Last Found Nov 1 2009
Hike Distance?


This Letterbox was reported alive and well on Nov. 1/09.

Located on New Zealand’s scenic South Island, on scenic Highway #8 between Alexandra and Cromwell, the Historic Clyde Letterbox, with its guitar, is easily accessible by road and is located overlooking Lake Dunstan near the Clyde Dam.

Formerly known as ‘The Dunstan’, Clyde was named after the nearby Dunstan Mountains, and was the town at the centre of the Dunstan Goldfields rush of 1862. Today, Clyde is overshadowed by the Clyde Dam hydro-electricity project. The road between Alexandra and Cromwell is aptly named the “Otago Goldfields Heritage Trail’.

Clyde’s stone and wooden buildings, dating back to the 1860s, line the streets of this historic town. Oliver's Restaurant and Lodge, once a miners' general store and stables, are steeped in old world charm. Dunstan House, opposite, was built in 1903 although the first hotel on this site dates back to 1862. Take a walk back through history to the museum at the former Courthouse and then along to the first herb factory established in New Zealand in the late 1930s.

Clyde rests at the foot of an immense and crooked gorge, once a severe test of mettle for early goldfields’ traffic. Teams often paused here to make ready for the pressures ahead. Nestled in a sheltered basin the surrounding area is renowned for its fruit, the product of long, hot and dry summers. Burgundy grape varieties thrive here and local vineyards have produced award winning Pinot Noir.

The Clyde Dam, constructed between 1977 and 1989 with the latest ‘state of the art’ technology, is the largest concrete gravity dam in New Zealand and forms the 26.4 sq. km. Lake Dunstan on the Clutha River. There are a million cubic metres of concrete in the dam, with a further 200,000 in the powerhouse. Construction took place from 1977 to 1989. Stabilization work still is being carried out on the hillsides of the Cromwell Gorge.

The Clutha River extends south from its source in Lake Wanaka to enter the Pacific Ocean at Port Molyneux on the East Coast. The Clutha is some 16km shorter than the Waikato River's 354 km. but with an average discharge of almost twice the volume.

The name Clutha is taken from the Gaelic for Clyde in Scotland. In pre-European times, the Murihiki Maoris (of the southern South Island) used several routes through Central Otago, including the Clutha River to carry their precious nephrite and greenstone from the Haast on the West Coast.

The Clutha and many of its tributaries were rich sources of gold. Miners first began mining the river in the 1860's. At the turn of the century there were no fewer than 187 dredges on the river working its bed from Lake Wanaka to the sea. Mountainous piles of tailings are much in evidence of this activity.


Locate the historic town of Clyde on Highway #8 between Milton and Queenstown. There are two entrances into Clyde and these clues assume leaving Highway #8 at the west entrance into Clyde.

Once you turn off Highway #8 at the west entrance to Clyde, take your 1st right turn (almost immediately) onto a hardtop road and proceed slightly less than 2/10th mile until you see a gravel road going to the left. Take the gravel road about 1/10th mile to its end where there is a concrete picnic table on top of a hill overlooking Lake Dunstan, the huge reservoir created by the Clyde Dam.

From the picnic table, look across the reservoir slightly left of straight across and you will see a dwelling on the far shore of the lake.

Line up the picnic table line with the dwelling and look downhill along this line toward the reservoir. About 50 yards downhill, there used to be a lone pine tree. It has been cut down, so now you are looking for the stump.

Proceed downhill to the lone pine tree and then turn around and look back towards the picnic table. About 4 yards uphill from the pine tree, there are several rocks forming a V.

The Historic Clyde Letterbox is hidden at the bottom of this V under several rocks.

Enjoy the guitar!

Once you have found the Historic Clyde Letterbox and signed in, thank you for replacing the Letterbox to ensure the integrity of its hiding place.

We hope you enjoy the search and the beautiful area of Historic Clyde.

Please contact us by email at peter@brill.ca to let us know you found this box and the condition it is in, plus any other comments you may have. We look forward to hearing from you.

Happy Letterboxing!