Cromwell Scenic Highlights
The wild colours of autumn in Cromwell contrast vividly with bright blue skies. Willows and poplars turn gold and amber along the riverbanks and roadsides.
Cromwell Scenic Highlights Overview
Cromwell is a place of dramatic scenery. Discover schist mountains studded with tors and vast valleys that were scoured by glaciers during the ice age surrounding Cromwell. The climatic extremes repaint the landscape with every season.
The Man-Made Fascination of Clyde Dam and Lake Dunstan
Clyde Dam is the largest concrete gravity dam in New Zealand, consisting of one million cubic metres of concrete. It's height is 100 metres, width at base is 70 metres, width at crest is 10 metres and length at crest is 490 metres.
Controversy surrounded the building of the dam, which saw a number of orchards and houses removed from the Cromwell Gorge to allow the flooding of the river valley.
The lake formed by the dam, Lake Dunstan, is 26.4 square kilometres in size. Its recreational uses include waterskiing, boating, canoeing, jet boating, boat cruises and eco-tours of the abundant fish and bird life. The lake extends from the historical township of Clyde through the Cromwell Gorge to Cromwell township, with one arm travelling up the Kawarau River to Bannockburn and the other widening out over the Lowburn Flats.
Old Cromwell Town
When the Clyde Dam was completed in 1992, the valley behind it was flooded to create Lake Dunstan. Because of this, much of the Cromwell town centre historic buildings were painstakingly moved to higher ground by dedicated volunteers. Others that could not be moved were taken apart and faithfully reconstructed...stone-by-stone and plank-by-plank.
Now the original site of Cromwell's historic business district at the junction of the Kawarau and Clutha Rivers now lies at the bottom of the lake.
Visitors can wander through the historic precinct of Old Cromwell Town to inspect buildings from 1860 to 1900 that reflect the town's gold mining and pioneering past. These include the London House Stables, Captain Barry's cottage, the Cobb and Co Store, Belfast Store and Jolly's Seed & Grain Store. In front of the restored town centre, a wharf provides a convenient departure point for tours of Lake Dunstan aboard a beautifully restored 1929 wooden motor launch.
After a busy day of exploring Cromwell, relax in your chosen accommodation and watch the sun set over the surrounding mountains. As a popular tourist destination, there is a range of accommodations available in Cromwell including the kiwi favourite - bed and breakfast accommodation.
Useful Cromwell Links
To help plan your Cromwell holiday choose from the main categories below:
- Central Otago Accommodation
- Central Otago Tours
- Central Otago Attractions and Activities
- Central Otago Transport
- Central Otago Cuisine and Dining
- Central Otago Visitor Information
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Cromwell Region Information
Key information and facts about the Cromwell region.
Major activities and attractions in the Cromwell region.