The history of Cromwell
Cromwell was a town born out of the Gold Rush era in New Zealand in the mid-late 19th century when thousands of miners descended on what was known then as ‘The Junction’. This was because of the fact that it was a point where a junction formed between the two rivers of Clutha and Kawarau. As the settlement grew, it was eventually named Cromwell after the English political and military leader, Oliver Cromwell.
By the early 20th century most of the gold had been mined and the area became a focus for farming and stone fruit growing as well as a hub between the popular spots of Queenstown and Wanaka.
The town went through another big transformation in the 1990’s with the building of the Clyde Dam which meant a relocation of the Old Town centre and an increase in the residential areas, services and facilities. During this time it also became a great place for wine enthusiasts with some of the country’s best wineries in close proximity.
Things to do in Cromwell
With its fascinating history, superb landscape and incredible produce, there’s no shortage of things to do in Cromwell and these are some of our favourites!
Events and festivals in Cromwell
A great time to visit Cromwell is during one of their fantastic annual events that are organised right throughout the year. The town really comes alive with locals and visitors from far and wide coming together for the festivities. Below are some of the best from Cromwell and the wider Central Otago region!
- January - Cromwell Food and Wine Festival
- January - Highlands Festival of Speed
- February - Central Otago Craft Beer Festival
- March - Goldfields Cavalcade
- June - Brass Monkey Rally
- October - Cromwell Half Marathon
- December - Cromwell Cherry Festival