The area in and around the Cromwell Basin is blessed with a large number of dedicated walking and cycling tracks to suit all ages and levels of fitness. Straight out of your new front door at the Wooing Tree Estate there are some flat, easy walks around the township of Cromwell and along the shores of Lake Dunstan, including the popular Four Barrels Walking Wine Trail that takes in four local wine tasting rooms in an 8km loop around the town.
Hop in the car, and there are you’re be spoilt for choice with the wide range of walking tracks and cycling trails in the surrounding area. There are walks in every direction. The wider Cromwell area was a former Central Otago gold mining stronghold, so it’s not surprising that many of the popular tracks wend their way through and around former mining relics and settlements. And up in the hills, there are longer and more challenging walks into desolate, sub-alpine areas of stark beauty.
The Bannockburn Sluicings
One of the more popular walking and cycling areas are the Bannockburn Sluicings, which were heavily mined from 1862 to the 1930s, and now provide a vivid slice of history, as well as a good workout on foot or mountain bike. There are a number of different tracks to view the historic relics that lie amongst the spectacular cliffs and pinnacles that have been sculpted by alluvial mining. The 7km loop track offers stunning views of the wider landscape and is suitable to anyone with moderate fitness. Once in the sluicings, you can see a maze of water races that fed precious water to various mining sites, the remains of the blacksmith shop, and the caves and rock shelters where the miners once lived. There are also historic walks at the nearby Bendigo and Quartz Reef Point Historic Reserves.
The Lake Dunstan Trail
For a family outing, the 19km cycling loop around the complete shoreline of Lake Dunstan is a popular and easy option, with stops on the way pick up seasonal fruit, pop in for a leisurely wine tasting, or just to take in the beautiful scenery. For the more adventurous, there are a number of longer, harder bike rides to be had, plus, for the ultimate thrill, you could splash out on a heli mountain biking adventure, where most of the hard work is done for you. All you need to do is hang on, take in the scenery, and enjoy the ride down!
These are just a few examples of the dozens of walking trails and cycle tracks in the area, just waiting to be enjoyed and explored.
Looking ahead, plans are already well advanced to connect Cromwell with two dedicated off-road cycle tracks that will link the town to, a) Clyde, via the spectacular Cromwell Gorge. This will effectively connect Cromwell to the beginning of the Otago Rail Trail, which winds its way down to Middlemarch, and b) the Gibbston Valley, up the equally spectacular Kawarau Gorge. When complete, this trail will link the two great wine regions of Central Otago – Bannockburn and Gibbston – so cyclists can pedal their way between the two, or carry on for a multiple-day trip, ending up in Queenstown.
So, in the not-too-distant future, cyclists will be able to ride, off-road, non-stop from Queenstown to Middlemarch, which will be an incredible trip. Furthermore, there are plans to link Cromwell to Wanaka, which would complete the most amazing network of dedicated cycle tracks in the country – with Cromwell at its centre.
For the more competitive runners and cyclists, there is the Cromwell Summer Series. For over twenty years now, Cromwell has hosted a series of summer sporting events that has something for everyone – from elite athletes looking to notch up another title, to families and individuals looking for a fun day out amongst unspoilt mountain scenery. Events include various lengths of runs, mountain biking, road biking, plus a duathlon and triathlon for multisport competitors.