Ice skating in Central Otago is always an exhilarating outdoor experience. Whether you are at a commercial rink or on a naturally occurring one, the experience offers a fantastic sense of space and freedom.
The freezing winters endured by Central Otago from June to August have nearly always ensured the freezing over of dams and ponds, creating ideal conditions for ice skating, which has been recorded as far back as the 1880s.
Before the commercial rinks at Alexandra and Naseby ice skating was particularly popular with locals on the Manorburn Dam, 10 minutes north of Alexandra. Clubs and individuals skated there and competitions were hosted there. People still enjoy skating in the open wilderness at Manorburn Dam, which boasts the largest ice skating area in the southern hemisphere when it freezes over. For your own safety, seek advice on the condition of the ice before attempting to skate on it and remember to take your own skates.
The Ice Inline Sports Complex in Alexandra is a commercial Olympic-size outdoor ice skating rink and a winter only facility. It hires out gear and has classes available for ice skating, curling and ice hockey. This is a busy rink that is also popular with school groups. Recreational skaters should telephone ahead to check availability.
The Maniototo Ice Rink at Naseby is part of an ice sports’ complex that also includes an indoor curling rink and outdoor luge. The rink is artificially assisted to maintain ice conditions during weather fluctuations. It hosts a variety of sports including ice hockey, curling and ice skating. Recreational skaters and curlers are welcome. Equipment and coaching is available for hire. It is open only during winter and it is advisable to call ahead to check availability.