Cromwell is a town in the Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand. It is situated between two of the main highways on the South Island and is close to Queenstown and Wanaka. Luckily, the town is surrounded by Lake Dunstan, which is good for those who love being near water as Cromwell is the furthest point from the sea in the entire country.
Dunstan Lake, Cromwell, New Zealand
Lake Dunstan is a beautiful man-made lake in the town of Cromwell. The lake was created in 1992 after the Clyde Dam went through major repairs and transformations. Cromwell was a mining town in the 1800's and there are many historic buildings in town that reflect this history. In the town center, you can see some of these buildings such as Captain Barry's cottage, the Cobb & Co Store, London House Stables, Belfast Store, and Jolly's Seed & Grain Store.
Bannockburn and Bendigo are two mining sites nearby and there are still some old ruins of cottages that miners lived in back in the mining days. As you enter the town you will see a large stone replica of various types of fruit as Cromwell is known for its fresh fruit.
Cromwell is surrounded by several towns and cities, the closest being Queenstown, Wanaka, Clyde, Alexandra, and Arrowtown. Also close by are a few different ski fields (Cadrona, Treble Cone, Coronet Peak). Cromwell is part of the Otago region of New Zealand, which includes the southeastern part of the South Island. This region is known for snow-capped mountains, adventurous sporting, wineries, and wildlife.
Near the town center is a wharf where you can take a tour of Lake Dunstan on a restored wooden motor launch. This is a very relaxing activity and really allows you to see the beauty of Cromwell from afar.
For more of a thrilling activity, visit the Highlands Motorsport Park where you can race go-karts, go on a safari dirt buggy excursion, and visit the motorsport museum. Tickets range from ten to twenty New Zealand Dollars.
The Cromwell Golf Club is a great place to spend a day, as it is considered the best inland golf course in the country. There is a clubhouse with locker rooms, as well as the option for renting carts and clubs.
During the summer months, there are fruit stands off of highway 6 (the main road you would take if you are driving to Queenstown or Wanaka) where you can buy fruit as you pass by or even pick your own fruit.
Food and Dining
There are several options for dining in Cromwell including national and international cuisines. Armando's Kitchen Italian Café is a lovely restaurant that serves traditional Italian food. The Bannockburn Hotel also has a great restaurant, with classic pub food and a wide selection of wine and beer. India Garden is a fantastic place to grab a traditional Indian curry and some naan bread. Thai Crom is another delicious Asian restaurant with a selection of traditional Thai food. Some places that serve classic New Zealand cuisine are Nichol's Garden Café, Tarras Country Café, and The Cider House Café and Bar.
Vineyards surround Cromwell as well so if you are interested in trying some wine, there are many places for that too. Wild Earth Wines and Restaurant, Wooing Tree Vineyard and Restaurant, Mt Difficulty Wines Cellar Door and Restaurant, and Carrick Winery and Restaurant are a few great places to taste wine and delicious food.
Cromwell is centrally located and is easily accessible from Queenstown, Wanaka, and Alexandra. The only way to get to Cromwell is by road, as there is no airport or train station. Therefore, it is probably easiest to rent a car from one of the larger cities and drive to Cromwell. Jucy is a great rental car company with affordable costs. You can rent small cars or entire camper vans through this company. You will notice that it is probably the most popular rental company in the country as there are bright green and purple cars/vans all over the roads.
Queenstown is the closest airport to Cromwell, with Dunedin being the second closest. From these places, you can drive to Cromwell. From Queenstown, it takes about forty minutes and from Dunedin it takes about three hours. InterCity is a bus company that can take you into Cromwell.
Once in Cromwell, you can either get around on foot, by bus, or by taxi. Getting around on foot is obviously the most affordable and it allows you to really see a majority of the town.