Bannockburn is a historic gold mining town and area that is now dominated by wineries. It is southwest of Cromwell in Central Otago and can be accessed from State Highway 6 along Pearson Road, after exiting the Kawarau Gorge. Or follow the signs through Cromwell to Bannockburn Road.
The most interesting historical feature is the Bannockburn Sluicings Historic Reserve, next to Mt Difficulty Wines. This was a large area dug out by water hoses and then sluiced for gold. It takes about two hours to do the full loop walk, which follows the diggings, water races, man-made caves and the remains of a dam at Stewart Town, a small ghost town. Make sure you wander into the wild thyme fields that dominate the gully created by the miners – the smell is fabulous.
There are other walks behind the small town of Bannockburn, and the hotel is also a historic site.