BANNOCKBURN SLUICING Bike TRAILS This loop trail is a chance to explore the former goldfield and remains of Stewart Town
This Central Otago cycle trail loops around the former Bannockburn gold field, providing a vivid slice of history and a rewarding perspective of times gone by. From 1862 to the 1930’s the area was sluiced and mined, so you are sure to see remains of dams, water races, tunnels and towering cliff faces - all that is left of hills that have been sluiced away to find the precious gold.
To start the trail, the car park is on Felton Road, about 1.5km from the Bannockburn Bridge over Lake Dunstan. The trail winds its way through the workings and up to Stewart Town – all that remains are remnants of a large dam, several ruins of mud brick homes and fruit trees that still bear fruit from the 1860’s! If you are lucky enough to time it right, apricots or pears are ripe for the picking.
From Stewart Town, continue following the DoC markers down along the ridge line to eventually arrive back at the car park. There are other trails that branch off the main trail giving you further opportunities to explore. The area is open and exposed so there is little chance of getting lost!
There are strategically located information panels around the marked route, stop and learn about the history of this area. Marvel at the barren wasteland that the miners left, the seasonal colours, especially in autumn – a photographers dream.
Then on your return to Cromwell spoil yourself by sampling some of the finest of Central Otago food and wines at one of the several local vineyards, or head to the Bannockburn Café for a well-deserved refreshment.
The area is exposed to the elements so do come prepared. The trail is conservation land and open all year round, it can be hot and dry so something to drink and eat is a must, don’t forget your camera!
Distance: 3.5 km
Fitness: Intermediate Level - Steep Climbs and Undulating