One of Cromwell’s best-kept secrets – a free visitor attraction that has something for the whole family. When the Clyde dam was completed in 1990, Cromwell’s main street disappeared under Lake Dunstan.
Some of the historic buildings dating back to the gold rush of the 1860’s were saved or lovingly rebuilt on higher ground, creating the Cromwell Heritage Precinct. Step back in time to the gold rush and explore heritage buildings, many with artisan businesses in them, located on the shore of beautiful Lake Dunstan.
Just through the Gibbston Valley/Kawarau Gorge from Queenstown and Arrowtown, less than half an hour from Wanaka, only a short drive from Alexandra and Clyde, and on the outskirts of Cromwell, Central Motor Speedway is in Sandflat Road, off State Highway 6. One of only three Division 1 speedway tracks in the southern region, Central Motor Speedway is now even easier to find, being right nextdoor to Highlands Motorsport Park. Together we’re contributing to making Cromwell motorsport central!
Located on Sandflat Road, the Central Speedway circuit was constructed by Ron Spriggs in the early 1990’s, on a 20ha parcel of Council Endowment land. The Golden Central Speedway, as it was then known, attracted speedway fans from throughout the South Island for two or three premier meetings held over the Christmas holiday period. The track is one of the best of its kind, and the surrounding slopes provide a natural amphitheatre for the fans.
National events have been held in Cromwell attracting drivers from as far north as Auckland. Saloon cars, midgets, super modified, motorbikes and side cars are all seen racing on the speedway. There is plenty of room for parking and a variety of stalls cater for the needs of the hungry or thirsty patrons. Night lighting makes the spectacle more exciting and allows patrons to ‘do their own thing’ over the hot summer day before attending the night meeting. This is family entertainment at its best. Meetings are held late December and early January, as well as over the Easter break.
Your experience starts as soon as you arrive in the stunning Kawarau Gorge and are greeted by one of our friendly and fun team. Head down the banks of the mighty Kawarau River and step aboard one of our high-spec purpose build V8 jet boats – your adrenaline rush is about to begin!
Your highly trained driver will navigate the shallow, braided waters of the Bannockburn arm at epic speeds, power up stream through the breathtakingly narrow Kawarau Gorge, racing past canyon walls before arriving at the impressive Staircase Rapids. The only ride to offer shallow waters and deep rapids in one adrenaline filled hit with multiple 360° spins. No need to look anywhere else – Experience the Best!
We have two experiences to offer; 40-minute jet boat experience $125 Adult $65 Child (5-13years) Family pass $310 (2 Adults + 2 Children)
• We do not carry children under 5years old or 22kgs for safety reasons. • This is an outdoor activity please dress accordingly • Photo’s and videos of your experience are available for purchase after. • Full length spray jackets and life jackets provided • Heated handrails
As the Gateway to Adventure, Highlands is a destination for everyone.
A World Class facility with experiences to match, it boasts multiple ways to experience the circuit at speed from Ferrari’s to Porsches, is home to the best outdoor go-kart circuit in the Southern Hemisphere, showcases the National Motorsport Museum including New Zealand’s most expensive car and a unique Aroma Room wine experience. Our onsite licensed Café features a large alfresco deck overlooking the tack. Our experiences are incomparable with anything else in the region and all of this is encompassed in a breath-taking setting. Ideal for individuals, families and groups – there is no such thing as a bad day at Highlands.
A passion for motorsport is not necessary, but a sense of adventure is.
Corner SH6 and Sandflat Road, Sandflat Road, Cromwell 9384, New Zealand
The revamped Cromwell and Districts Museum is located in The Mall. The collections held represent the tangible heritage of Cromwell and the surrounding area and have been built up through the support and donations of the community over many years. They include domestic and agricultural items, displays on the construction of the Clyde Dam, formation of Lake Dunstan records, mining and geological items, clothing, archaeological materials such as Chinese artifacts and sub fossil deposits, Maori artifacts, photographic collections, books, documents and newspapers (Cromwell Argus).
Challenge your friends, workmates, clubs, stag do, birthday parties to a game of Paintball. They must be prepared to hunt…and to be hunted…? We are only 45 minutes from Queenstown, 30 minutes from Wanaka and 20 minutes from Alexandra. So if the lakes are rough or ski fields are shut, come to us and have a couple of hours of fun shooting with your mates.
Cromwell Swim Centre A new discovery – Feel the difference at the Cromwell Swim Centre, Barry Avenue Cromwell. Open 5.30am – 7.30pm Mon – Fri, 9.00am – 6.00pm sat and 10.00am – 6.00pm sun and public holidays. This pool is closed Christmas day and Good Friday only. Come join the fun at one of Cromwell’s special attractions. This pool offers a 25mt lane pool, Therapeutic/learner’s pool, spa pool and waterfall feature which has a shallow beach entrance for toddlers to enjoy. Attractions include
Pool parties Cool inflatables Dunking machine Fun pool toys like float boards, shaped floaties, balls and much more Aqua jogging belts, fins, kickboards, pull buoys to use We offer
Lane swimming Aqua jogging Aquarobics classes for all abilities Swimming lessons for babies to adults Snorkelling courses Kayak polo Royal New Zealand Life Saving Society Awards Rehabilitation through physio Green prescription through physios and doctors in conjunction with Sport Otago We have
Family changing rooms Water wheelchair Hydraulic lift into spa Barbeque to use free of charge We sell
Goggles Ear plugs Caps Fins and flippers Aqua jogging belts Chlorine remover soap and shampoo Sinking toys Arm bands
03 445 0919
Barry Avenue, Cromwell 9310, New Zealand
Goldfields Mining Centre
Tours of Goldfields provide visitors with an insight as to “how the gold was won”. Mining for gold was reliant on water power from water races high in the hillsides overlooking the site with numerous sluice guns carving out vast areas of the hillside.
Gold Mining Equipment The power generated by the sluice guns is demonstrated as part of every tour of the site alongside the operation of one of a very few stamper batteries (used to crush the gold-bearing ore) still functioning in New Zealand.
Chinese Village A replica Chinese Village and miner’s store and shacks evoke a period long since gone. Chinese migrants (mainly Cantonese) were drawn by the gold rush of the 1860’s and left everything familiar to them to come to a foreign (and sometimes hostile) country that few of them ever returned from. See how they lived and learn how they became an important part of New Zealand history.
Gold Panning No tour of Goldfields is complete without the chance to pan for gold and there is still plenty of gold for those patient enough to try their luck.
803 Kawarau Gorge Road, Kawarau Gorge 9384, New Zealand
Cromwell Farmers and Craft Market
Visit the Cromwell Farmers’ and Craft Market within the Cromwell Heritage Precinct, where an excellent range of local and regional produce is available – direct from growers and producers – during our spring and summer growing season. Enjoy music and brunch foods and local, quality arts and crafts.
Every Sunday 9am to 1pm. Labour Weekend until Easter.
Cromwell Heritage Precinct, Melmore Terrace, Cromwell 9310, New Zealand
Cromwell Mini Golf
Get the whole family together for a fun round of mini golf! This 18-hole course, situated next to the Big Fruit, offers a variety of challenges.
Opening hours Weekends during summer: from 10 am School Holidays: 10 am daily
At all other times clubs, balls etc are available from the Cromwell I-Site across the road. Clubs and balls included in fee.
03 445 0744
Murray Terrace, Cromwell 9310, New Zealand
Local Short Walks
Cromwell to Lowburn Lakeshore Walk Start at Old Cromwell and walk to and under the Deadman’s Point bridge across State highway 8B. Continue on northwards following the lakeshore, past McNulty Inlet, to Lowburn and hence to Pisa Moorings. Cross over the new pedestrian bridge at Perriam Cove.
Sugarloaf Terrace Track Park at Clark Road and walk up to the top of the Sugarloaf Terrace via an existing 4WD track. You will see evidence of gold diggings as you go upwards past a proposed site for a water reservoir for Pisa Moorings. Take in the magnificent view at the top of the terrace, follow the yellow ROW markers, skirting the Dendy cherry orchard, and head southwards towards Lowburn. You will pass more gold diggings and eventually arrive at Lowburn Inlet on Lowburn Valley Road.
45º South Monument This monument is located on State highway 6 and a local service group has constructed a walk track to the top of the Sugarloaf Terrace, to link with the Sugarloaf Terrace track.
Cromwell to Bannockburn Lakeshore Walk Start at the southern end of the Council oxidation ponds via Richards Beach Road. Alternately start at the Pearson Road end. This track takes you close to the Kawarau Arm of the lake and past various residential subdivisions. Across the other side you have great views of vineyards and olive orchards.
Bannockburn to Goldfields Linking with the Cromwell to Bannockburn track, this track starts at the car park on Pearsons Road and extends under the Bannockburn Bridge (see the earthquake prevention devices), and along the Kawarau Arm. This stretch of walkway exhibits a variety of methods of how gold was won in the past and there are some very impressive herringbone tailings to view. But, please keep to the track and do not disturb any of the protected tailings. The walk passes residential areas, orchards, historic sites, pump stations and finally ends up at the ‘Stagger inn’ car park area accessible from State highway 6 at the entranceway to the Kawarau Gorge.
Old Reservoir Starts at Jackson Lookout on State Highway 8 and walk up a steep track to Cromwell’s original water reservoir. Continue on to Firewood Creek and back via State highway 8 to the car park at Jackson Lookout.
Bendigo Goldfields Refer to DOC information kiosk at base of hill along Bendigo Loop Road for the many options available here.
Bannockburn Sluicings & Stewart Town Start at Felton Road car park and information kiosk. If required, a guided walk is available – check with the Information Centre.
Carrick Goldfields Start at Quartzville and walk to Carricktown and the Young Australian water-wheel. Check with the information centre for conditions on the day.
The Cairnmuir Hill Track From Bannockburn to Clyde – obtain the Walk Cromwell brochure from the information centre at Forage Cafe before setting off.
Come in Time Battery Walk
This signposted walk near the Bendigo Historic Reserve takes you down to the mine entrances and the recently restored stamper battery. Up Thomson Gorge Road there’s a signposted walk down to the mine entrances and the battery that was part of the Come in Time claim. This has recently been restored and is a virtually complete example of this kind of heavy gold mining equipment. It’s just a short 15 minute walk to the battery, though there are other interesting artifacts in the area, making it a good place for both exploring and picnicking. The freehold land from the historic reserve to the top of Thomson Gorge Road is also ‘wander at will,’ to look at the historic sites within the Rise and Shine area.