The Roxburgh Valley we passed through on our way from Alexandra to Dunedin.
It is a pretty valley, has the Clutha River running through it, Poplar and Willow trees, and lots of Fruit trees, Berries, vineyards and road side stalls. It would be stunning in spring, and a great place to buy nice fresh fruit when in season and you can pick your own at certain places.
Fruit sales begin in December with cherries and strawberries, and continue until the apples finish in autumn. The fruit is at its best at these times:
Strawberries: December & March
Apricots: mid-January to mid-February
Peaches: February to March
Plums, apples & pears: late February on.
Fishing for Salmon is good in the river, and in the lakes, there is plenty of Brown & Rainbow trout in the Dam. We drove into Lake Roxburgh which has been formed by the dam. It covers an area of nearly six square kilometres and is a popular fishing, kayaking, jet boating and skiing spot. There were some good views from there overlooking the valley. A nice area!
In its hey day, St. Bathans was a coal and gold mining town.
The grand total of FIVE people live here now, compared with 2000 people and 13 Hotels.
Today it is a small town with only two surviving operating facilities - the post office and the (haunted) pub. The local hotel in St Bathans, 'The Vulcan', dates back to 1882 and the post-office back to 1909
The Vulcan Hotel is made out of sun dried mud bricks, as back in those days, there wasn't ch timber to use. Other older buildings include the Anglican Church (1882) and the stone schoolhouse.
Across the road, is the beautiful Blue Lake, caused by the mineral content of the surrounding cliffs. The 120 metre high hill that it was, is now a 69 metre deep hole, the deepest mining hole in the southern hemisphere. Today the lake is a popular and unique for swimming and jet skiing.
Little has changed around the town and it is easy to imagine the place in its hey-day
This is a delightful little town, often by passed, but really worth a visit.
Located 50ks from Alexandra or 30ks from Ranfurly
Lawrence was another very small town we passed through on Highway 8 heading to Dunedin. It was Otago's first gold-rush town, originally named Tuapeka.
It is hard to imagine that this town's population at the height of the gold fever, was 11,500, double that of Dunedin, making it one of the largest communities in the country, and now it is 550!
It was here, in Gabriel's Gully, where in May 1861 Gabriel Read made his famous strike that sparked off a frantic and unprecedented gold rush.
A must visit is the information centre as this Town is full of historic buildings and the centre has leaflets and a heritage trail walk that you can do. There are 50 well preserved buildings that are heritage listed.
We stayed the night in our campervan in this quiet, historic, tiny town.