The Central App

My Town: Bannockburn

The Central App

11 January 2024, 11:43 PM

My Town: BannockburnJackie Hamilton welcomes readers to her hometown of Bannockburn. PHOTO: Supplied

Welcome to the next installment of our "My Town" series.

This initiative is to find the charm and attractions of diverse small townships nestled in the heart of Central Otago. Our aim is to provide holiday-makers with an immersive experience that delves far beyond the well-known landmarks, such as Cromwell’s iconic big fruit sculpture and the majestic Clyde Dam. The series will unfold with weekly releases every Saturday and Wednesday until the 26 of January. Over this period, we will cover towns of Central Otago, exposing the region's hidden treasures from a locals perspective.

Episode 9. Bannockburn

Jackie Hamilton welcomes readers to Bannockburn, population 406.

How did your story in Bannockburn begin?

My family moved here in 2001 to farm merino sheep on Cairnmuir Station.

We built a home on the Cairnmuir side of Bannockburn and have been privileged to be involved in the development of the highly successful Lake Dunstan Bike Trail.

Our kids' childhood memories forever will be slalom water-skiing training in the Inlet.

The neighbourhood in Bannockburn is very friendly and supportive with many residents sporting hidden talents of all sorts.

What do you think is one of the town’s best hidden treasures and why?

Desert Heart - where all the locals take their visitors for a home-made platter of savoury treats.

It's tucked away down by the Kawarau River with the access road off Felton Road. 

It's an easy bike-ride back to the Bannockburn Hotel or Black Rabbit Cafe.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone planning a visit?

Add a couple of days onto your visit.

Then there's enough time for a variety of walks/bike rides on the Cairnmuir and Carricktown side of Bannockburn, as well as The Sluicings, and maybe a 4WD day-trip up through the Nevis, or over the Hawksburn to Clyde.

Explore The Sluicings during your next visit to Bannockburn. PHOTO: Hayden Parsons / Central Otago Touring Route


What’s something people planning a visit should bring with them?

Walking shoes and plenty of drinking water.

Make your way along Cornish Point Road to the DOC track over the Cairnmuir Range.

Walk up the rocky track as far as you feel comfortable for a wonderful view over Highlands, Mt Difficulty and the Sugar Loaf. 

On the way back stop for some bean-bag R&R time at Pedal & Pour Wine Trailer at Carrick Winery overlooking the Inlet.


What’s one thing about Bannockburn that might surprise a visitor?

The educational plaques on the Sluicings track on Felton Road - visitors will discover an amazing variety of facts about the goldmining community of Stewart Town and the difficulties in making a living there in the 19th century.


Where in Central Otago do you like to escape to and why?

The swimming hole under the Bannockburn Bridge - clean and sandy and shady - perfect way to cool the core down on the way home from a hot day out and about.

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