If you’re into popping the cherry (in your mouth, of course!) And racing around and around in circles at over 200km/h then you are going to love Cromwell.
It’s one of the fastest growing small towns in the country, with loads and loads of people moving there and making the 45-minute commute to Queenstown or Wanaka for work.
One of the first things you notice in Cromwell is the beautiful Lake Dunstan that frames the town. The second is the giant bowl of fruit situated right on the main drag welcoming locals and tourists alike to the township.
After the gold rush ended for the Cromwell area in the 1950’s, entrepreneurial locals discovered that the extreme hot and cold climates provided a brand new ‘gold rush’ by growing fruit.
Cherries, peaches, nectarines and all sorts of grape varieties grow in abundance around the community. You can taste the joy of Central Otago fruit in the many roadside fruit stalls along the highways passing through Cromwell. One of the most popular fruit stops is at Mrs Jones Fruit Orchard.
Many are astounded when they first walk into Mrs Jones Fruit Store. It’s not uncommon to hear claims that people have never seen so much fruit displayed, and decent fruit at that. Juicy, unbruised fruit is available in an abundance at Mrs Jones Fruit Orchard. Perfect for you to take home or on your travels with you around New Zealand.
Many a coach stops over and allows visitors to experience this one-of-a-kind orchard located just on the outskirts of Cromwell.
And while visiting Mrs Jones Fruit Orchid is a great leisurely activity for those of all ages, for the ones after something a bit more action-packed and exciting, then it’s a must to head down the road to Highlands Motorsport Park.
If you fancy tearing around the race track in The Aston Martin Vulcan with Tony Quinn at the wheel or reaching 100 km/h in less than 3 seconds in a McLaren 650S then your need for speed can be fueled right here.
After a whirlwind of a time on the racetrack, your best bet is to crack on back into town for some lunch. A bounty of beautiful wineries and vineyards surround the Cromwell area. Most provide a great place to wine and dine in while admiring Cromwell’s natural beauty. Carrick Winery & Restaurant allows you to watch the river wind round with the lovely peaceful environs, peppered with sculptures of a variety of sources and styles; each in their own niche of the garden. While the setting in the Kawerau Gorge gives a wonderful ambience to a unique dining experience at Wild Earth Outdoor Kitchen & Cellar Door Restaurant and The Winery Restaurant at Mt Difficulty Wines is hands down one of the best wine lunch experiences you can get in New Zealand. The venue provides super views from up high coupled with good quality food and wine.
After lunch, having a wander around the Cromwell Heritage Precinct is a must-do. Learn about the rich history of Cromwell and what it was like before the town was flooded to make way for the dam and relocated to its current spot. The Precinct is set in an ideal location along the lake and is a great testament to the work required to relocate the buildings prior to the flooding of the dam.
Cromwell is a humble but proud township that allows you to cycle its trails at your own pace; indulge in a Central Otago wine in stunning settings; devour summer fruit picked straight from the tree – bursting with flavour; give the ancient sport of curling a nudge; ample fishing, boating and picnicking opportunities on its lakes and rivers; playing golf on varied and un-crowded courses; and camping with the family as it used to be at our friendly holiday parks.
Cromwell is the perfect destination for those wanting to live life at their pace.