Paerau is a small settlement in inland Otago
Otago is a region of New Zealand in the south of the South Island. The region covers an area of approximately making it the country's second largest region. The population of Otago is...

 in New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

's South Island
South Island
The South Island is the larger of the two major islands of New Zealand, the other being the more populous North Island. It is bordered to the north by Cook Strait, to the west by the Tasman Sea, to the south and east by the Pacific Ocean...

. It is located in the upper valley of the Taieri River
Taieri River
The Taieri River is the fourth-longest river in New Zealand and is located in Otago in the South Island. Rising in the Lammerlaw ranges, it initially flows north, then east around the Rock and Pillar range before turning southeast, reaching the sea 30 km south of Dunedin.The upper reaches meander...

), at the foot of the Rock and Pillar Range
Rock and Pillar Range
The Rock and Pillar Range of high hills is located in the Maniototo, an area of inland Otago, New Zealand. They are surrounded by the Taieri River, which has its source in the range, flowing out across the scroll plain at Paerau, before almost doubling back on itself at Waipiata and flowing back...

. Its name means "one hundred ridges" in Maori
Maori language
Māori or te reo Māori , commonly te reo , is the language of the indigenous population of New Zealand, the Māori. It has the status of an official language in New Zealand...


Despite being geographically close to Middlemarch
Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life is a novel by George Eliot, the pen name of Mary Anne Evans, later Marian Evans. It is her seventh novel, begun in 1869 and then put aside during the final illness of Thornton Lewes, the son of her companion George Henry Lewes...

 and Roxburgh
Roxburgh , also known as Rosbroch, is a village, civil parish and now-destroyed royal burgh. It was an important trading burgh in High Medieval to early modern Scotland...

, the terrain and roads mean that Ranfurly
Ranfurly, New Zealand
Ranfurly is the largest settlement in the Maniototo district of Otago, New Zealand. Located 110 kilometres north of Dunedin, it lies in dry rough country at a moderately high altitude close to a small tributary of the Taieri River. It is a service town for the local farming community...

 and Patearoa
Patearoa is a small settlement in inland Otago in New Zealand's South Island. It is located 20 kilometres southwest of Ranfurly, in the Maniototo and was originally known as Sowburn....

 are the more closely related communities of interested.

The Styx

Paerau is also colloquially referred to as The Styx. This name relates to the Styx Creek, a small tributary
A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean...

 of the Taieri that leaves the Great Moss Swamp
Great Moss Swamp
The Great Moss Swamp is located in Otago, New Zealand, at 45°33'S, 169°56'E. It lies in the Maniototo, close to the former gold mining route of the Old Dunstan Road, 85 kilometres to the northwest of Dunedin city centre....

 (swamp is in fact a misnomer, as due to an irrigation dam, it is now a lake). The Dunstan Trail (now a dry weather road) from Dunedin
Dunedin is the second-largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the principal city of the Otago Region. It is considered to be one of the four main urban centres of New Zealand for historic, cultural, and geographic reasons. Dunedin was the largest city by territorial land area until...

 to the Central Otago
Central Otago
Central Otago is the inland part of the New Zealand region of Otago in the South Island. The area commonly known as Central Otago includes both the Central Otago District and the Queenstown-Lakes District to the west....

 goldfields crosses the Rock and Pillar Range from Clark's Junction (near Middlemarch
Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life is a novel by George Eliot, the pen name of Mary Anne Evans, later Marian Evans. It is her seventh novel, begun in 1869 and then put aside during the final illness of Thornton Lewes, the son of her companion George Henry Lewes...

) and descends into the Upper Taieri, whence it crosses the Styx Creek. In an allusion to Styx
Styx (mythology)
The Styx is a river in Greek mythology that formed the boundary between Earth and the Underworld . It circles the Underworld nine times...

, the river bounding the underworld, it is perhaps a comment on the nature of the frontier goldfields. Originally the second overnighting stop from Dunedin (after Clark's Junction) there is an old hotel
A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis. The provision of basic accommodation, in times past, consisting only of a room with a bed, a cupboard, a small table and a washstand has largely been replaced by rooms with modern facilities, including en-suite bathrooms...

 and gaol at Styx Creek. In keeping with this theme, the hotel had a coin embedded in the bar, alluding to the coin required for the ferryman across the river to the underworld. The site of the hotel is several kilometres from the modern 'hub' of Paerau, the school. The Dunstan Trail continued on from Paerau, via the Serpentine goldfields to the Poolburn Reservoir and eventually to Alexandra
Alexandra, New Zealand
Alexandra is a town in the Central Otago district of the Otago region of New Zealand. It is located on the banks of the Clutha River , on State Highway 8, 188 km by road from Dunedin and 33 km south of Cromwell.At the time of the 2006 census, the permanent population was 4,827, an...



Paerau is located on a large scroll plain
Scroll plain
A scroll plain occurs where a river meanders across an area with a very low gradient, usually with a fairly continuous discharge. In addition to meanders, scroll plains are also characterised by many oxbow lakes.-New Zealand:...

. The meanderings of the river is extremely complex, leaving many oxbow lake
Oxbow lake
An oxbow lake is a U-shaped body of water formed when a wide meander from the main stem of a river is cut off to create a lake. This landform is called an oxbow lake for the distinctive curved shape, named after part of a yoke for oxen. In Australia, an oxbow lake is called a billabong, derived...


External links

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