Extraordinary views, exquisite pottery, gorgeous cafes and restaurants, an historic hotel, wine country... what’s not to love?
When you’re not familiar with this unique place, the bounty of Bannockburn comes almost as a surprise. In one sense, you arrive into one of the most harsh and arid climes in New Zealand - high temperatures, little rain. Sweeping vistas of exposed rock, sand and soil, it’s a beautiful, dramatic, rugged, and perhaps even a little foreboding, landscape.
But this special dry climate and soil lends itself perfectly to special grapes that turn into special wines, notably the boutique pinot noir Central Otago is famous for. So, perched on rocky outcrops in those hills, in cellar doors, lunching in winery restaurants, or enjoying the hospitality of the longstanding local hotel, you’ll look down to lengths of flats, strung row upon row with vines. And there’s renowned Otago stone fruit nearby too, and thyme growing wild. What a combination...
And celebrated gold
And before those celebrated grapes and stone fruit, there was celebrated yellow gold... Alluvial gold was sluiced from around here, and there’s a vivid gold mining heritage to explore. Find walking tracks around old gold fields, imagine those frenetic moments of recent history, in these now barren exposed areas.
And today’s treasures
Now, Bannockburn has a decidedly peaceful vibe, surely different to the gold rush of nearly 150 or so years past. There’s a different kind of gold that you’ll find today.
Stumble upon a local artists, like gorgeous take-your-breath-away ceramics made by a local potter at his wheel. There’s the old Bannockburn hotel, the first licensed hotel around these parts since the gold digger days in 1862, offering tapas and meals, with a good helping of local hospitality. Striking winery restaurants, and a lovely local cafe, with the longest cheese rolls you might ever see...
Thank you Bannockburn, the heart of the desert. (Where we’re sure you’ll find a hearty dessert too.)
To the makeshift kitchen
And here’s something from the makeshift kitchen, back at base and inspired by this unique region, paying homage to travels to Bannockburn.... our soft cheese and apricots on toast idea. A spot on way to remember those clear dry Central days...
Your road trip companion...
To find more on The FoodPath NZ’s handpicked eateries and food producers, for our collection of spot on New Zealand food moments to check out on your next New Zealand trip, including Bannockburn treasures, download The FoodPath NZ’s guide (for mobile) here.