Butchers Dam

Central Otago District

Butchers Gully and Dam

Before Butchers dam was Butchers gully. A rich prospecting creek. At the height of it's gold mining activity in the mid 1860's, a store and butchers shop was set up. A few years later the Butchers Gully Hotel was built. In the great depression of the 1930's, a project to cut an outlet tunnel through 728 meters of solid rock to supply the town of Alexandra with water was built. At the same time they built Butchers Dam and flooded the entire gully, which now the hotel is submerged under. There are some ruins of an old store room and the stone wall of Lye Bow gardens still above the water level that you can see. This is a great place for a short walk with the kids.


From Alexandra, take the Alexandra-Fruitlands Rd south and take the left at Flat Top Hill Conservation Area. Park up anywhere and take a walk.

Helpful links

The kids aren't tired.

As a parent you have to plan each road trip with delicate care. Planned naps, food stops, breaks, and that perfect time of day. How ever, it never works out as planned. After spending Easter camping in Alexandra it was time to head home. Deciding to take the Roxbrough route and have lunch there. Some how our clocks where off and we had a couple of hours to kill. As we realized this we were driving right beside Butchers Dam and thought we better check it out.

To our surprise the place was packed, with fishermen to picnic goers to mountain bikers. What had we stumbled on. Only a few hours, when in reality you could spend the whole day here, we started off on the trail along the lake to the dam. It was a beautiful day out and all I could focus on was this old looking wall on the far side of the lake. Lets go there I said. My wife and kids agreed. The ruins were the Lye Bow gardens and there are enough plaques along the trail to tell you all about it. There was a little old sod hut wall still there as well. By the time we managed to drag the kids back to the car, they were done. Maybe unplanned days are well planned?

Surprisingly alright - Stu