Cromwell Travel Guide
Nestled on the shores of Lake Dunstan, Cromwell has been shaped by gold, fruit and hydro-electricity.
From the mid to late 1800s, the town was the main centre for the goldrush areas of Central Otago. Discover this colourful era at the Gold Fields Mining Centre, and at the historic goldmining sites of Bannockburn, Bendigo and Kawarau.
During the 1920s, a local irrigation scheme led to the development of the region’s famous stonefruit orchards and its arid climate makes the region unique for cherry and apricot growing, as well as peaches, nectarines and plums. Grapes are also grown now, and the district’s wineries are producing some quality wines which are well worth sampling. The regions Pinot Noir's pick up more than their fair share of awards on an annual basis. The Central Otago Winegrower's Association has a brilliant guide
as to which vineyards to visit around the region.
In winter, the fresh snow turns the mountains from dark blue to white. It’s a great time of year to enjoy a walk, and the Bannockburn Bridge to Goldfields Mining Centre is probably the best walk through gold mining heritage in the country, according to Terry Emmitt from the Cromwell Promotion Group. “There are large areas of hand-stacked tailings which shows the incredible amount of work required to extract gold,” he says. When you return from the walk, reward yourself with a glass of local wine by a roaring log fire at one of the local pubs.
Cromwell underwent major transformation in the 1980s when the Clyde Dam power station and Lake Dunstan were constructed. Parts of the old town were flooded and the town centre was relocated. Some of Cromwell’s historic buildings were reconstructed and can be explored at Old Cromwell Town.
Old Cromwell Town is also the base for numerous local artists and artisans and is open daily. Have a browse around the museum buildings and visit working artists and shops throughout the area, with options to suit diff erent tastes and budgets. Make sure you spend some time exploring this unique piece of New Zealand’s pioneering past. It’s also worth paying a visit to the Cromwell and Districts Museum and Information Centre, which you’ll find in The Mall. The museum has displays on Cromwell township, family life, the discovery of gold, the Chinese influence, pioneer women, and the history of its bridges and hotels.
Cromwell has campgrounds and holiday parks catering to the needs of travellers enjoying a New Zealand camping holiday. Whether you're looking for a campsite to pitch your tent; a cabin; or a caravan park for your campervan / RV you'll find the widest choice here.
Located at the junction of Clutha and Kawerau Rivers, 64km east of Queenstown
Summer average: 15-35°C