Milton is a town located 50 km south of Dunedin and 21 km north of Balclutha, on State Highway 1, in South Otago. It lies on the floodplain of the Tokomairiro River, the two branches of which flow past the north and south ends of the town.
Milton is a small town of around 2000 people. The main industry is its function as a service town to the local rural community. Forestry is another growing industry and the town also has a large metal-working factory.
In May 1861 Gabriel Read discovered gold at "Gabriels Gully", near Lawrence 33 km north west of Milton. The history of Milton was much affected by this discovery. As Milton stands close to one of the best routes to the interior, it was a popular starting point for prospectors heading for the goldfields.
Drivingwest from Milton, through the Manuka Gorge, the countryside opens up into picturesque rolling green pastures. Being on the edge of the coastal maritime climate and drier Central Otago region, the area gets plenty of warm summer sunshine interspersed with showers that maintain soil moisture levels for good pastoral growth, ideal for sheep, beef and deer farming. In autumn, the cooler conditions are reflected in the dramatic leaf colours of the deciduous trees, providing an added attraction for artists and photographers.
Milton lies at the edge of the OtagoCoast Forest, a number of rare species are known to exist within this forest. These include the New Zealand Falcon and several indigenous fish species. Mountain biking, horse trekking, motorcycle riding and hunting are popular recreational activities in this forest. All access requires an Access Permit.
A short drive from the coast, nearby Taieri Beach is a popular destination for surfers, especially the Taieri River Mouth, when there is a swell running, there are waves a plenty either side of the river mouth. There’s no crowds on the beaches and the fishing can be very exciting too.
Milton has a modest range of accommodation, there is enough here to please all travellers who are planning to stay and enjoy this small town.
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