Snow covered tussock grass, winter snowstorm on Hawkdun Range, panorama near St Bathans, Central Otago 1 day 1 night

Day trip to St Bathans,
Central Otago

WHERE IS ST BATHANS? Nothing like going down a side road. St Bathans does not disappoint as the drive from SH85 takes you to the end of the road and, of course St Bathans. The township is approximately 45 minutes from Alexandra.
Best time to visit: Year round with locally purchased merino wool layers for the winter snow. With an alpine climate, soaring above 30C in summer and with snow and sleet in winter.
About Trip
Day trip to St Bathans
Central Otago

The stunning desolate high country of the gold mining towns of Naseby and St Bathans is a window into the past. The past where intrepid, determined prospectors trudged through the harsh landscape on the promise of gold on the horizon. Both towns are a mere 44km apart giving visitors an opportunity to travel in the slow lane. Take time to absorb the landscape, wander through heritage cemeteries, walk around the extraordinarily beautiful lunar Blue Lake, wonder about the lives of people inhabiting the once upon a time busy St Bathans and pop into the Vulcan Hotel for a pie and local beer.

St Bathans Blue Lake result of gold mining Otago

St Bathans
St. Alban the Martyr church

St Bathans originally named Dunstan Creek, the town underwent a name change when surveyor John Turnbull Thomson documented the fledgling settlement with the name for the Scottish parish of Abbey St Bathans. In the 1860’s the town’s inhabitants were over 2000. The gold stampede started in May 1861 with an gold find in Gabriel’s Gully several thousand miners in a matter of months. Currently there are six permanent residents. An iconic pub is your first stop.

St Bathans church interior, organ, Otago

Blue Lake
Falls Dam

You’ve completed your exploration of the town, enjoyed a pub lunch now it’s time to get the walking shoes on. The Blue Lake is an extraordinary lunar landscape deserving further exploration.It’s origins lie in the gold mining era with miners sluicing and dredging for gold. The sharp blue colour of the water contrasting with the stripped bare white cliffs is spectacular creating a favourite spot for photographers year round.

Blue Lake reflections of clay cliffs at sunset, after winter storm and snowfall, St Bathans

Travel Pack Information

St Bathans former police camp now accommodation

  • In 1873 when John Ewing formed the St.Bathans Channel Company to mine the Kildare Hill Gold Claim in St Bathans. His company constructed a tailings channel and introduced hydraulic elevating to work the claim. The site became the site of the deepest hydraulic elevating operation in the world. The Kildare Hill Claim faltered and eventually the site was managed by the Scandinavian Water Race Company in that year. The claim was abandoned in 1932 due financial hardship. Additionally there was pressure to close the claim with concerns that St Bathans would be undermined due to excessive mining practices. Runoff from the surrounding hills filled the quarry site creating the Blue Lake.

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