Collingwood (population about 400), situated 8 km (5 miles) by road from Twin Waters Lodge is the main centre for the area. It is a very historic town and was once proposed as capital of New Zealand. Collingwood was built on the gold rush – up until the discovery of gold in Central Otago. The Aorere River was a rich source of gold.

Today, the local economy is based mostly on farming, particularly dairying, which supplies the factory at Takaka. Collingwood is dominated by the old Post Office building. The historic cemetery on Excellent St has gravestones recording the deaths of miners and their families – many by drowning in the Aorere River, which had to be crossed to get from the goldfields to town.