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Visiting Fraser Dam

Fiesta Kilometers:

Being the middle of Summer in New Zealand and having a few days off work after the Christmas and New Years break, we decided that we’d catch up with Robbie & Nathan who were staying at the Alexandra Camping Ground.

With a leisurely start, we left home around half eight and headed to Alexandra via Gore. It was a pretty sedate trip, as during the holiday break there’s a zero speed tolerance enforced by the police – which is to try and reduce the number of fatal road accidents during these periods. I found it mildly entertaining that when driven gingerly, the Fiesta will happily consume a measly 5.3L per 100km.

After arriving, we caught up with Nathan & Robbie for a bit and then Nathan whipped up some burgers on the BBQ for lunch.

Once we had finished lunch, we jumped into his Prado for a bit of off-road exploration. The last time we went off-roading was last year when we visited the southern arm of Lake Manapouri.

The destination was Fraser Dam, which is easily accessible at this time of year if you have a car with all-wheel-drive and decent ground clearance. Once you’re on Fraser Dam Road, you just keep following the road and it leads directly to the Dam. Easy!

Completed in 1937, the Fraser Dam was constructed as part of the Earnscleugh Flat Irrigation Scheme. As Alexandra and surrounding areas in Central Otago get such dry summers, the Dam was created as a catchment to hold water and release it off to the farms and properties when required. The concrete structure pictured above is 32m high and 137m in length. The catchment area of the Dam is 119km².

This summer has also been another very dry summer and if you look at the Lake-side image below you can see the marks where the Lake would usually sit.

We then jumped back into the Prado and circled the outside of the Lake, to see the other side.

On this side of the Lake, there are a few walking/hiking trails that are open to the public, however, it was far too hot when we visited and we were much happier inside the Prado with the air conditioning running!

Heading out on the same stretch of road, we stopped to check out the spectacular view of Alexandra.

After we got back to the camping ground, we were back into the Fiesta and went home via Frankton – calling into my favourite Ice Cream shop in Arrowtown for an afternoon snack.

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