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Ultimate Queenstown

Beyond QT - Destination St Bathans

Beyond QT - Destination St Bathans

Posted by Dave Fahey: 2nd Nov 2016 @ 09:08:15

While we live in what I believe to be paradise, weekends provide a great opportunity to burst the bubble and explore our surroundings. Destination this week - St Bathans. Now most people I'm sure wont have a clue where this is. But you'll find this small country town tucked away just a mere 90 minutes drive from Queenstown, in the heart of Central Otago. Central Otago to me is iconically Kiwi. Small rural towns powered by the farming industry, centred around their rugby fields and character filled pubs. It was neither the farming nor the pub surprisingly that drew us to St Bathans, but rather the incredible Blue Lake that hides away here.

The lake itself is man-made, as a result of a gold sluicing operation dating back to 1873. Nearly 30 years of gold exploration at this site, turned a 120m hillside into the now 68meter deep hole, where the lake sits today. While no gold mining happens on the site today the hard work of these pioneering folk have left a true gem of Central Otago. When the sun hits the water it lights up the deep abis into a stunning deep shade of blue. The crystal clear waters are use by locals for swimming, fishing, kayaking and of course paddle boarding. When we turned up we were lucky enough to have the whole lake to ourselves & it wasn't long until the paddle board was on the lake & I was off to explore. While the lake is not overly big, the crystal clear waters and steep eroded sites make for a stunning environment to go for a paddle. It was also refreshing to be playing in water that was not fresh off a glacier, making a spring swim pleasant rather than a brain freezing experience.

Anywhere else in the world you would be fighting the crowds to enjoy an exquisite spot like this. Its this that make you feel fortunate to be tucked down the bottom of the world. If dry feet are what you are after there is also a 2km track that winds and weaves around the shores of the lake, providing some history of the area and great elevated views down onto the lake.

When departing the lake you cant help but stop in at the local pub - The Vulcan Hotel. This place is a cracker. She is a remnant of the gold mining area and a must stop if you enjoy an ale and a yarn. Your probably not likely to find to many people sipping chai soy lattes here, but if your in to good honest pub grub, a beer and some good local company then settle yourself in.

So if your cruising through Central Otago, most likely heading between Queenstown and Dunedin, keep an eye out for the signs pointing you to St Bathans and the Blue Lake. You certainly wont be disappointed with the tiny detour off the highway.

Next stop - Mavora Lakes!

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