Patearoa today is mostly a farming community, a popular place with crib owners (holiday home owners)
and a popular fishing area for local fishermen.
The town started off as a gold mining settlement.
Originally known as Sowburn it had a post office, store, blacksmith, baker and butcher by 1890.
A walk down the popular Sowburn Walkway will take you to the remains of an old Chinese gold mining settlement
and will unveil some of the areas intriguing history.
Today Patearoa has a nine hole golf course, bowling green, tennis courts, hotel and garage.
Like many towns in the area the opening of the Otago Central Rail Trail has seen new possibilities for accommodation
and entertainment in the area.
PAERAU / THE STYX
Further up the valley from Patearoa is the area known as Paerau (also known as the Styx), and is home of the extensive
Taieri River wetlands. The historic Styx Hotel and Styx Jail lie at the foot of the Dunstan Trail the early coach route to the
Central Otago goldfields. The hotel is now a holiday home, but the Jail can be visited. It was actually a lock-up where the gold bullion was protected during the overnight coach stop and you can see the chains where the gold chest was padlocked in safety.
Because of its importance as a stopping place, two hotels operated on either side of the river in case there was a flood
The Dunstan Trail is now a popular 4WD and mountain bike route (please check weather conditions before proceeding). Information is available from Department of Conservation offices in Alexandra and Dunedin.