This 3 hour, 11 km Central Otago walk follows the shoreline of the Kawarau Arm of Lake Dunstan from Old Cromwell Town to near the Bannockburn Bridge at Pearson Road. It is an easy walk along the shoreline and up on the terrace overlooking the lake. Wonderful 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains are stunning and winter snows make this a most picturesque lakeside walk. There are numerous tailings in this stretch of the lake which, as a river in the early 1900’s, was host to many dredges picking their way through the golden harvest. The yield of this precious metal was huge but as time went by the gold ran out and the land became quiet again. Nowadays the area flourishes as a fruit and wine growing region that produces some of the very best Pinot Noir to be had.
Old Cromwell Town is the original business area of the town before the Clyde dam was built and the lake filled in the 1990’s. Some original buildings remain and others have been moved to the area to recreate an original Central Otago gold town flavour.
The track starts from the car park at the Melmore Marina adjacent to this area and follows around the lakeside going up and down the terrace a couple of times. Features to be seen are old stone huts and gold workings. Return along the same route to Old Cromwell Town.
A longer option takes you around the lake to near the other end of Pearson Road. This continues from the shorter option under the Bannockburn Bridge and is a further 7 km and 2 hours.
Expect very cold in winter, very hot in summer, and wonderful scenery all year around. This is quite an exposed track so be prepared for the conditions.