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Cromwell Winter Lake Dunstan

Cromwell & Bannockburn

Cromwell • Bannockburn • Pisa • Queensberry • Tarras • Bendigo

Found on the intersection of the Kawarau River and the Clutha River, Cromwell was originally called 'The Junction'. The Junction was used as a resting spot for gold miners travelling between Central Otago and Queenstown and was renamed in 1863 it was renamed to Cromwell after the 17th Century English leader, Oliver Cromwell. 

Cromwell's natural landscape were dramatically changed when the Clyde Dam was established between 1982 - 1993, and Lake Dunstan was formed. The Old Cromwell town was flooded by the project, but a few of the old buildings were relocated to the Cromwell Heritage Precinct on Melmore Terrace. 

Nowadays, Cromwell relishes its new found definition. With its rich heritage, award-winning wineries and incredible landscapes, Cromwell has re-established itself as an idyllic location all year around. Take a dip in Lake Dunstan in the Summer; enjoy fresh stone fruit in the autumn; marvel at the dusting of snow on the surrounding ranges in the Winter, and indulge in local wine in the many gorgeous Tasting Rooms in the Spring. 

Cromwell & Bannockburn: About

Sip Back & Relax

Boasting over thirty cellar doors in the area, Cromwell and the wider region is the ideal location for sipping back and relaxing with a glass of award-winning Pinot Noir.

The Bannockburn vineyards are located in one of the warmest and driest areas of Central Otago - an area that was once rich with gold, now rich with vineyards. Bannockburn wines are renown for its complexity and distinct nature.

Closer to the Cromwell township, the microclimates, soil varieties and different topography provide Cromwell vineyards with a recipe for success. Many of the vineyards in Cromwell are in close proximity, so you can easily spend a weekend tasting and unwinding.

At the top end of Lake Dunstan are our Pisa, Queensberry, Tarras & Bendigo vineyards. The views in itself are worth seeing, however combined with the intensely flavoured wines, it's a must-do experience for the wine lovers.

Domaine Thomson Vineyard Alexandra Information Centre
Cromwell Fruit Orchard

Squeeze the Day

In the Summer, Cromwell is the place to visit for fresh produce - peaches, plums, apricots, pears, apples, cherries and more! 

It's hard to miss the Giant Fruit Sculpture proudly displayed at the town entrance - the reason being the Cromwell basin is renown for its delicious produce. In the summer time, orchards are bursting with all sorts of fruit where you can purchase them from roadside stalls or going into some of the orchards yourself and pick your own!

Cherries are incredibly popular over the Christmas/New Year period, then as it gets cooler peaches, plums and pears are in season!

Alongside fresh fruit, there are vegetables, flowers, honey, olive oils, nuts and more! Supporting local has never been easier - or more delicious! 



As you explore Cromwell, you will no doubt notice how the past and present intertwine so naturally.

Like the rest of Central Otago, gold is fundamental to the creation of Cromwell, Bannockburn and the surrounding areas. After Hartley & Reilly made rich discoveries in the 1860s, a huge influx of miners flooded the Cromwell area - formally known as 'The Junction'. Gold mining expanded all over the region, with hotspots in the Nevis Valley, Bendigo and Bannockburn. Bannockburn was a key site for dredging and sluicing and remnants of the gold rush are now scattered around the Bannockburn Sluicing Historic Reserve walk.

When the Clyde Dam Project was completed in 1992, the Cromwell Gorge was flooded and Lake Dunstan was created. Because the main township was located in the Cromwell Gorge, the old buildings were carefully relocated to Melmore Terrace, where they showcase cafes, retail shops and galleries in the old historical buildings.

Cromwell Heritage Precinct Alexandra Information Centre
Credit: Highlands


Upgrade your glasses of wine to shots of adrenaline!

Superfast Car Dash, Go Karting, Highlands Taxi are all on offer at Highlands. Highlands welcome group bookings with open arms and there's absolutely something for everyone - including an excellent café, a sculpture museum and mini golf on site!

Keep the adrenaline pumping as you travel through the Kawarau Gorge to Goldfields Jet. Experience the power of the Kawarau River which is renown for being one of the most historic gold mining areas in New Zealand, as you jet across the river. Do check out the combo deals on offer for both of these!


Tracks & Trails

One of the best ways to explore Central Otago is by foot. Cromwell is no exception! Choose from short, sharp walks or half and full day hikes!

For panoramic views over the Cromwell Basin, the 45 Parallel is a 45 minute, 2km walk that climbs 501 steps up the terrace face. 

Starting at the Cromwell Heritage Precinct, following the Kawarau River to the Bannockburn Bridge, and then out to Cornish Point, this 13.5km walk showcases the best of what the Cromwell basin has to offer. If you're looking for a more advanced hike, follow the Cairnmuir Track (25.5km) which takes you up over the Cairnmuir mountains to Clyde.  

The Bannockburn Sluicing Historic Reserve 3.5km loop treks through old gold mining sites. The view from the top looks over Cromwell, Bannockburn and the Kawarau & Clutha Rivers. For more of a challenge, continue from the sluicing sites up to Carricktown (+ 3km) or Long Gully Loop Track (+ 11km).

Light Up Cromwell - Alexandra Information Centre


Always Something to Look Forward to!

Cromwell celebrates all the seasons with awesome public events happening every year! Light Up Winter (pictured) transforms the Cromwell Mall into a twinkling, sparkling, glittery winter wonderland. Along with the tasty night market snacks, there will also be live music, street performers, and even fire dancers!

The Cromwell Heritage Precinct comes alive at the end of October with a night filled with live entertainment, fireworks and street performers.

The Cromwell Summer Series is a group of sporting events that gets the public out and about. With half marathons and duathlons, mountain and trail biking, there's something for everyone. 


Exhibiting some of the best local art; sculpture, painting, photography, ceramics, printmaking, multimedia and jewellery.

With the dramatic landscapes of Cromwell, Bannockburn, Tarras and Queensbury, inspiration for artists is their backyard view! 

In Cromwell, you have the Hullabaloo Art Space which is artist-run and found in the Cromwell Heritage Precinct. Solo shows happen every three weeks so the work is always varied and interesting. There is also the amazing OCTA Gallery & Workshop that is also found in the Cromwell Heritage Precinct. Providing a living gallery space, OCTA showcases National and International artists.

Check out the Central Otago Arts Trail for individual artists and their galleries, workshops and exhibitions. 

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