I loved this old hotel - we sat outside in the bright Otago sunshine with a cold glass of wine enjoying the atmosphere and playing with the friendly hotel dog.
Built in 1869, the Vulcan is the only one remaining out of the thirteen hotels that once served the St Bathans gold miners. It oozes character with it's faded old sign and polished copper window sills, and one of the rooms is supposedly haunted. A TV crew filming here once were spooked enough to leave in a hurry with their filming unfinished. No sign of ghosties when we were there but I would love to stay here sometime.
This gorgeous looking lake is found right opposite the Vulcan Hotel, although it is a fair way down to the shore. It was once a hill, but the mine workings have left behind this sparkling lake, made a striking blue colour by the minerals present in the waters and in the surrounding steep cliffs. The picnic site opposite the hotel means the views over the lake are a lovely backdrop for your lunch.
Otago sees some of New Zealand's hottest and driest weather during the summer, but during the bitterly cold winters the lake freezes right over. The ice becomes thick enough to skate and walk on, and 'curling' contests are held.
On the hill between the church and the Vulcan, this lovely old kauri-timbered building is St Bathans historic Post Office (kauri is a native timber which was often used in buildings by the early European settlers). It still runs a postal service, and you can buy postcards here and send them on their way complete with a unique St Bathans postmark.
Favorite thing: St Bathans is hidden off the main road, so you need to know the turn off if you are to find it. Travelling along highway 85, approximately halfway-ish between Ranfurly and Alexandra keep your eyes peeled for Loop Road. This will take you off the main road, into St Bathans, and back onto the main road so you can continue on your journey.