The Central App

My Town: St Bathans

The Central App

26 December 2023, 6:49 PM

My Town: St BathansThe next installment of our My Town series takes our readers to St Bathans. PHOTO: Geoff Marks

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 2. St Bathans

Birgit Krippner welcomes readers to St Bathans, population "fewer than" 10.

How did your story in St Bathans begin?

Eleven years ago I did my first roady to the South Island. At the time I lived in Wellington and I had a little Mini Cooper. I planned out the trip, where I will be heading. My husband Murray said that there is one place, he would like me to visit. I said, sure, what’s that? It was St Bathans. After cruising around the South Island for some days, I ended up taking the right turn onto gravel road, leading to St Bathans. That was the beginning of my love affair with this historical place. A couple of years ago we started looking for a holiday home in the area. This holiday home became a big house which we purchased. Earlier this year we sold our house in Seatoun, Wellington, which was located close to the beach. Our home is in St Bathans now.

St Bathans resident Birgit Krippner. PHOTO: Birgit Krippner

What is it about St Bathans that you couldn’t live without and why?

The smell of nature, it brings me back to childhood memories, which I thought were long forgotten. 

Where’s the best spot in town for lunch?

There is one amazing spot in town for great lunch, which is the one and only Vulcan Hotel.

St Bathans' popular meeting spot is the Vulcan Hotel. PHOTO: Geoff Marks

The Blue Lake at St Bathans is a must see when visiting the area. PHOTO: Geoff Marks

What’s a fun fact about St Bathans?

Not sure if this is a fun fact, but it is being said that room number one of the Vulcan Hotel is haunted. This is a story coming from the old gold mining days of St Bathans.

What’s one thing people need to check out when visiting St Bathans and why?

The Gold Office, which is a little store selling local crafts and collectibles in the historic village of St Bathans. Coming here is like diving into a different reality. I highly recommend.

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

A good escape for me is the Aquatic Centre in Alexandra. I go swimming there a couple of times a week. Always feeling great afterwards. Also, going for walks on gravel roads, and spending time with our five sheep, two dogs, one cat and my family.