For a short time in the 1860s, Otago was in the grip of a fabulously rich gold rush. People flocked here from all over the world and towns sprang up wherever a rich supply gold was found. Some survived the end of the rush and went on to become permanent townships. Others emptied as the gold failed and there was nothing else to keep people there. Macetown was one such town and now all there is of a once thriving community is some stone buildings, scores of exotic trees planted by long-gone townsfolk and boards telling the story of the town.
Macetown is only accessible by 4WD. You can drive yourself. Alternatively, tours up to Macetown run out of Arrowtown. Hotel pickups from Queenstown can be arranged. The four hour trip takes you through the rugged and beautiful Arrow Gorge, crossing and recrossing the river as you go. On the way you'll have the chance to pan for gold yourself in the river -you never know - you might be lucky enough to find a speck or two - and you can keep what you find.
Contact any tourist office or the Arrowtown Information Centre for details.
... are what Cromwell is all about. Set on the banks of the huge Clyde Dam - the town was actualy moved when the dam was built and its central area flooded - the area around the small town is the centre of New Zealand's orchard industry and the fastest growing wine production region in the country.
Like nearly all the towns in Central Otago, it was gold that first brought people here. Nowadays, changing seasons see the slopes and valley bright with the golden leaves of autumn colour after the harvest of the stone fruit and grapes that bring their own gold to the orchards and vineyards - and the bank balances of those who grow them.
Tourism is bringing more wealth to the region. When the old town was flooded a small group of buildings was able to be saved to become Old Cromwell Town, a place for local craftspeople to work, cottage industries to find a home and special events to be staged.
This is the only historic gold town to have survived the flooding of the valley. So far nine buildings have been carefully restored or reconstructed. For those who prefer their history a little less manicured there is plenty of evidence of the goldrush days to be found in the tailings and ruined cottages that dot the landscape.
Cromwell lies just off the main road between Queenstown and Wanaka. Stop on the way into the town to buy some of the delicious fruit from the roadside sellers.
When gold was discovered in in 1863.in a valley in the foothills of the Mt Ida Range in Central Otago it wasn't long before the town now known as Naseby quickly began to grow as prospectors followed their dreams. The field here proved to be so rich and extensive that the town ended up being moved as the workings grew and grew. The little town retains much of its charm with so many buildings remaining from this era that virtually the whole of the centre of the town dates from gold rush days. The newer buildings are sheltered by the trees of the Naseby forest and there are many interesting walks in the area that take in well-preserved and documented workings and other remnants of the gold-rush days. The little Settlers museum is also worth a visit.
Naseby is popular holiday territory for New Zealanders when the permanent population of less than100 can grow to to over 4000 as the cribs (NZ-speak for holiday cottages), campground and hotels fill up. Things get busy again in winter as the town is a centre for ancient Scottish sport of curling. Mountain biking is another popular activity in the area - one that causes a bit of friction as bikers, in search of new challenges, have not always been inclined to stay within designated areas and have left a trail of damage on many of the walking tracks.
Naseby is about a 2 hour drive from Queenstown, less from Alexandria
This little building was the Gold Office in St Bathans, a wee (favourite NZ word that) town in Central Otago. Once a thousand people lived here and there were more than 40 business establishments in the town - all due to the gold that was discovered here in 1862. Now the population is no more than 10 , only the post office and the pub (the Vulcan -which claims to be haunted) remain in business and the police station and gaol are a let out as a holiday cottage. It's been a long time since a prospector brought gold to the bank, and the pit that the miners created when they completely dug away a 120metre hill and kept digging to a depth of nearly 70 metres is now a lake of the most amazing blue as a result of the minerals that leach into its waters.
Folk come to swim and jet-ski, the Vulcan serves a good pint and tasty pies and you could do worse than spend a night or two here, using the comfortable cottage as a base to explore the region or simply enjoy the peace and beauty of this remote and lovely part of the country.
St Bathans is about 45 mins drive from Alexandria
New Zealand doesn't have a long history, however what little we have is worth visiting. Here in the midst of Central Otago is an old gold mining hotel, from the 1860's.
St Bathans is inland from Oamaru in the South Island. You need time to visit this area, and you need a vehicle. If you have both, then be sure to call at the Vulcan Hotel. They say it has a ghost!!
We only paid to tour the gardens. The handout that is provided is extremely informative and we had a great time. Would highly recommend.
The following info is off the website
Gardens & Grounds Only (self-guided)
Entry to the Castle's gardens and grounds, ballroom cafe, historic stables and outbuildings. Informative garden and native plant trail brochures and maps provided to assist with exploring the gardens and grounds. Pre-bookings not required.
Child (5-14) $ 3.00
Child (0-4) Free
Season Pass (12 months from date of issue) $30.00
at the shores of Lake Dunstan, just outside of Cromwell, when the Clyde Dam was build, many parts of the area where floaded, some historical buildings where pulled down build up again in safer parts on the Lake, like the old Museum with artefacts of the beginnings and settlement in Central Otago.
down south the adventure starts, jetboating bungy jumping, not for me but young people can't get enough of it
Bungy Jumpers Bridge of the Kawarau River..Cromwell to Queenstown