Bannockburn is a small town, only about 120 people live there today, but it is extremely popular with tourists. There are many mining relics to explore in the area, and other options for visitors such as a trek to Stewart Town, a ghost town with old buildings, tunnels, and abandoned mine shafts. For those seeking out a bit of the modern age, Bannockburn has a lovely wine area, Mount Difficulty, where world-class food and wine are served. In addition to the delicious wine, there are also stunning views of the landscape.
Bendigo Historic Reserve
Goldfield Mining Centre
One of the most well-known mining attractions near Queenstown is the Goldfield Mining Centre. This center is the original site of a gold strike, which occurred in the 19th century. This site was mined for more than a century, and during that time, there were approximately 46 tonnes of gold extracted from the area. Here, you and your family can discover how the early miners panned for gold. You will also see how these miners lived, the hardships they endured, and how some people found their fortune. In addition to the tour offered by the center, visitors can learn about the various gold mining equipment that was used in the past and still used today. There is also a historic stamper battery, which is used to crush ore, in use at the center, and it’s one of the only stamper batteries still in use in the entire country.
The Goldfield Mining Centre also features a Chinese village, which is a replication of how the migrants used to live. You will have the chance to tour a miner’s store and explore the shacks, which the Cantonese migrants lived in. Not only will you learn about the hardships these miners went through, but you will also learn more about how they impacted the history of New Zealand.
Of course, you can also try your hand at panning for gold at the Goldfield Mining Centre. Here, visitors have the chance to comb through the virgin land, and many people find small grains of gold as they use the equipment on site. There are also a number of visitors who have found larger pieces of gold, too, and some of them are several hundreds of dollars in value. If you have never panned for gold, there are guides who will give you a brief training with a gold pan and show you where to gather your gravel and dirt for panning.
Finally, if you need a rest and want to try some local cuisine, make sure to sample some of the area’s finest wine and tapas at the Wild Earth restaurant before heading back to Queenstown.
The area’s history is rich in the gold panning legacy, and no visit to Queenstown is complete without taking in some of the local attractions. Make sure to take the time to learn about the mining legacy of the area, and don’t forget to try your hand at panning for gold before you leave.