Bannockburn Sluicings
Image: Becker Fraser Photos ©

Introduction

Man-made Badlands: explore the spectacular landscape that remains from large-scale water blasting during the 19th century search for gold.

Highlights

Visit the remains of the dams, tunnels, walls, and water races that were built to flush out gold. The result is a spectacular man-made landscape that can be explored on foot or bike via various tracks. The remains of rammed-earth houses where the miners lived can still be seen.


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Track overview

3.5 km loop

Walking and tramping

1 hr 30 min Easy: Walking track

Mountain biking

Intermediate: Grade 3

Dog access

Dogs on a leash only

About this track

Getting there

Travel 6 km south-west through Cromwell, and cross Lake Dunstan to get to Bannockburn. This site can be accessed from Felton Road. 

History and culture

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.  

Contacts

Kā Moana Haehae / Alexandra Office
Phone:   +64 3 440 2040
Email:   alexandra@doc.govt.nz
Address:   43 Dunstan Road
Alexandra 9320
Full office details
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