Danseys Pass is an alpine pass across the Kakanui ranges, linking Central Otago to the Waitaki Valley – a place to discover, if you like the idea of going somewhere off the beaten track.
This is a gravel road; narrow in places, it crosses through high country farmland. You can drive a car on it quite easily, but the road is sometimes closed in winter because of snow or floods. The road was one of the first points of entry from the north for early gold mining traffic.
The Danseys Pass Coach Inn (1862) is the sole surviving reminder of a time when the place was hectic with gold miners. Now it’s a special get-away destination with a difference. The older part of the hotel was built by some of the 2000 miners who were happy to be paid with beer. Some German miners planted trees behind the hotel to remind them of home, which now form the German Creek Reserve and picnic camp spot. The water races dug by Chinese miners across the hillsides reveal the hard work needed for high country prospecting.
You could link a trip over the Danseys with a visit to Naseby or the Kyeburn Diggings. Or you could finish your Rail Trail trip by travelling northwards over the pass. The road is remote and like a longer version of the Crown Range near Arrowtown, with outcrops of schist and tussock covered hills. 4WD enthusiasts can access the DOC Oteake Conservation Park from this road (in fair weather).