Image of the Bannockburn Sluicings, photo by Becker Fraser Photos.

The spectacular landscape of the Bannockburn Sluicings near Cromwell can be explored on foot or mountain bike. Several trails offer different perspectives of the relics that lie amongst the spectacular cliffs and pinnacles scoured by miners using water-blasting to get to the alluvial gold - the rich pickings deposited in and beside rivers. Miners worked this area for 50 years, from the early 1860s. You will see what is left of the dams, tunnels, walls, and water races built to feed precious water to various mining sites. There are remnants of stone and earth houses, the blacksmith shop, caves and rock shelters where the poorest miners once lived. Little remains of the Stewart Town settlement: a miner’s stone cottage and an orchard planted in 1906 that still yields pears and apricots. Once you reach Menzies Terrace there are great views across Cromwell and Bailey’s Gully.  For those with little time, there are vantage points that can be reached by car, and walks that take just 10 minutes. The warm, dry climate and absence of vegetation give you the feeling you are exploring a remarkable desert. It’s a climate that is proving perfect for the area’s new gold: grapes. 

Related links

DOC - Bannockburn walks

Central Otago - Bannockburn Sluicings

Otago Daily Times - Rail trail, sluicings recognised as landmarks


Updated on 16th February 2018