Getting to Bannockburn Sluicings and key sights
Discover the Bannockburn sluicings, a historic attraction nearby the Lake Dunstan walk / cycle trail. Bannockburn sluicings are oddly compelling with its gutted, stripped landscape created by 19th century alluvial gold mining techniques. Naturalised heather adds an evocative scent as you wonder about hell on earth for the miners seeking the elusive gold buried in the alluvial gravel and ancient river beds.
Bannockburn Sluicings key sights
- Sheer scale of the damage to a landscape that occurred with the power of water blasting
- The semi-arid landscape is beautiful in its stripped back to the rock face state. The heat of summer or biting cold add to the sense of drama that is palpable while visiting Bannockburn Sluicings.
- The view of vast piles of rock and pebbles is a contrast to the vineyards and rolling farmland
- Hot summers and cold winters have baked the exposed landscape orange, brown and tints of black
- The desolate landscape is raw and looks as though the earth has been turned inside out with its guts spilling out into stacked ordered piles of rock, jagged pinnacles and rock tunnels.
WHY SHOULD YOU VISIT BANNOCKBURN SLUICINGS?
You should visit Bannockburn Sluicings to witness the power of a gold rush and sheer effort taken to find gold.
- The power of hydraulic sluicing where water is blasted at the hills to release alluvial gravel and rocks is powerfully told by a visit to Bannockburn Sluicings. Visitors interested in history or the destructive power of extractive industries will find a visit to Bannockburn Sluicings oddly compelling.
- Bannockburn Sluicings is a statement about the lust for instant wealth, gold. Intense physical labour with each rock washed and inspected for gold dust sits as a testament to gold fever.
Abandoned when the gold became hard to find, the shock of what 19th century mining techniques did to a natural landscape has messages for today. From the early 1860’s over 33 claims were worked in the area. Miners built water races to feed water into canons to blast the earth. Miners lived where they worked in crude stone and earth dwellings. The settlement of the Stewart Town visible remains are a roofless miner’s stone cottage and an orchard planted in 1906 that produces pears and apricots.
The badlands of Bannockburn Sluicings can be explored on foot, mountain bike and even with your pet on a leash.
The Bannockburn Sluicings are managed by the Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai.
WHERE TO TAKE A GREAT INSTAGRAM PHOTO AT BANNOCKBURN SLUICINGS?
Climb up into the gullies, the carved out pinnacles and you will be transported to the wild west Badlands for a great shot.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME OF THE YEAR TO EXPLORE BANNOCKBURN SLUICINGS?
The best time of the year to visit Bannockburn Sluicings is late spring to early summer (October to early December) with the thyme in bloom and the scent of naturalised lavender a reminder of Scottish miners who lived in the area. The purple flowers look glorious and carpet the landscape.
HOW CLOSE IS CROMWELL TO BANNOCKBURN SLUCINGS?
Five to ten minutes drive from Cromwell you will arrive at the historic Bannockburn Sluicings reserve.
Check out Otago art and culture trail – Best Bits for more holiday inspiration. Cromwell & Bannockburn 9 historical sites worth a slow wander – Best Bits is a treasure trove for historic buffs with picturesque streetscapes, museums and places of interest.
HOW TO GET TO BANNOCKBURN SLUICINGS?
Bannockburn Sluicings is 5.7 km from Cromwell on rural roads. You will get great views of Lake Dunstan and vineyards. The site is accessed from Felton Road. There is a car park.
WHERE IS BANNOCKBURN SLUICINGS LOCATED?
Bannockburn Sluicings is located nearby the central Otago town, Cromwell and is 60 km from Wanaka.
Imagine moving by hand and with a hand held shovel tonnes of rock, soil and gravel wet with water to get to the gold bearing schist 8 metres below the surface.
Bannockburn Sluicings is open year round.
Some walks are closed during the lambing season.
Length: 3.5 km (rough rocky surface) climbing involved.
Take water as the sun beats down without any shade. In winter brisk cold winds can whip up.
This is a very dry area with no water on the tracks – take water with you.
There are no designated campsites or huts in this area – do not camp on private land.
Caution. There are old mining shafts throughout this area, children should be closely supervised.
Remember that all rocks, historic artefacts (including earth and stone works), native plants and animals are protected on public land – tread carefully and take only photos. Source Bannockburn Sluicings Track – Otago.
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