St Bathans

Once called Dunstan Creek, the former gold and coal mining town of St Bathans, lies deep in the heart of the Maniototo in New Zealand’s Central Otago region.

In 1887, Saint Bathans was a bustling town, home to around 2,000 miners. And this quaint historic town has barely changed since gold rush days. Some of the buildings from that era remain and little else has been added since. So it’s very easy to imagine the town as it was during the gold rush.

Close to the town, the Blue Lake was created by extensive mining activity. Miners chipped and sluiced their way through the quartz rock of the 120 metre high Kildare Hill from 1864. By 1933 the hill was a 168 metre deep pit. And mining was stopped in 1934, as the sides of the pit were getting close to the town.

The huge hole was allowed to fill with water to create today’s beautiful lake. The minerals in the surrounding rocks give the water an astonishing blue colour, offset by surrounding columns of white quartz tailings.