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.
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
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).
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.