Bannockburn is a surprising oasis of sensory stimulation from fledgling vineyards, orchards, lavender and fantastic vistas to a tangible gold mining heritage and relaxing recreational opportunities in the heart of Central Otago.
Just 5km south-west of Cromwell the Bannockburn Bridge and entrance sign welcome you. The bridge was built following the construction of the Clyde Dam and the subsequent creation of Lake Dunstan. The sign’s pillars are made from the stone of the original suspension bridge that once crossed the Kawarau River. It suggests that Bannockburn is ‘the heart of the desert’ – a reference to a book written on Central Otago history by J C Parcell (1951).
Up the hill on Felton Road there is a stark landscape where extensive sluicing took place. Further on there is a signpost indicating the entrance to a well marked 2-hour walk, which takes you past old gold diggings, tunnels, races and dams to the old stone buildings and ancient orchard at Stewart Town. Access is subject to seasonal restrictions.
The views are magnificent: northwest to the Pisa Range, Lake Dunstan, and southwest towards the Nevis Valley.
Bannockburn township has a hotel, tea-shop and store, camping ground, playground, tennis courts and bowling green. Some historic buildings of the gold rush era remain.
Enjoy wine tasting, seasonal fruits and relax at the beautiful Bannockburn inlet – ideal for picnicking and swimming and boating.
Bannockburn offers a peaceful atmosphere, where you are free to unwind and to experience its beautiful, tranquil mix of old and the new.