In this part of the country an excursion can take a couple of hours or all day. Outings for relaxing days include:

St Bathans

St Bathans is one of the most delightful historic gold towns in New Zealand and just a short drive from Lauder.

Nestled between Mount St Bathans, the Hawkdun Range and St Bathans Downs you will find the stunning Blue Lake, the village of charming mud brick and stone houses, and the inviting historic Vulcan Hotel.

Walk around the Blue Lake and marvel at the stunning colour of the water and the varied hues and patterns of the sands and soils, caused by the mineral deposits left over from mining.

It is hard to believe that this was once a bustling, noisy town of 2,000 people and 13 hotels. The guide book says there is now a population of 5 people. Jude and Mike, the hosts at the Vulcan Hotel, reliably inform us that the guide book is incorrect and that the population is actually 7!

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Turn left onto SH 85 (the Pig Route) from Big Sky Cottage and take a drive through the magnificent ‘big sky country’ of the Maniototo, immortalised by the paintings of Graham Sydney.

Discover the vastness of the land and the even greater vastness of the sky. Visit the quaint settlements and towns along the way including

  • Wedderburn with its historic tavern and the famous green railway shed captured in Graham Sydney's 1975 painting
  • Ida Valley where you'll find the fascinating Hayes Engineering Works established in 1895 to provide farmers with everything from wire strainers to windmills
  • Oturehua has Gilchrist's historic general store where the interior is very much as it was in the gold mining heyday of this region
  • Naseby has historic buildings, a museum, gold mining history, an internationally famous indoor curling rink, and numerous relaxing walks and mountain bike trails in the surrounding forests
  • Dansey’s Pass with stunning views of the surrounding tussock countryside and Otago mountains, and the stone and mud brick Dansey's Pass Hotel originally built in 1863
  • Kyeburn Diggings has extensive sluiced mine workings providing a stark reminder of the mining impact on this part of the Central Otago landscape
  • Ranfurly, renowned as the art deco capital of the South Island, with numerous examples of art deco architecture and some fascinating stores with a large range of deco collectibles from glass lamp shades to furniture
  • Waipiata has an historic rail bridge, the Waipiata Country Hotel with 19th century mudbrick walls that survived the 1932 fire, and is now famous for its annual 'Ute Muster' raising money for charity

Check out for detailed information.

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