Here at Cheeki Cherries we love where we’re from and we want you to get the most out of your visit to Cromwell so we’ve made a list of some of our favourite things to do when you are here.
Cromwell is a hidden treasure on the South Island of New Zealand that has a character all its own. It is located right in the middle of the wine and cherry heartland of Central Otago. During the summer and autumn months, the town is visited by hundreds of seasonal workers who are looking for work in the surrounding vineyards and orchards. Cromwell is a well-known pit stop for travellers en route from Queenstown to Wanaka because of its location between the two resort towns.
Cromwell may be a small town, but that does not mean there is a lack of things to do here! Our quiet suburban town has a lot going on, whether you’re an explorer, an adventurer, or a wine connoisseur, there’s something for everyone in this town.
Based on Lake Dunstan at Lowburn, the Cromwell Water Park opened for the first time in 2020 and has been super popular ever since. The year 2021 saw the addition of even more fun things to do on the park.
It features an enormous obstacle course, water toys, slides, diving boards, spinning UFO’s, a climbing wall, water trampolines along with the world’s largest floating sheep, Rodney.
If you have smaller kids with you then you are in luck as there is a Kiddies Splash Park specifically for children under six years old.
The water park is intended for people of all ages, including children and adults, however in order to participate, visitors must demonstrate that they are physically healthy and capable of swimming independently. Everyone is required to wear a life jacket, which is provided for them, and there are lifeguards on duty.
This is one for the thrill seekers – how about zooming about on a go-kart? If this sounds like you then head to Highlands Motorsport Park, where you can have a drive around one of New Zealand’s most renowned go-kart race circuits.
The nearby Highlands, only five minutes from Cheeki Cherries, has been drawing in a significant number of tourists to Cromwell for over a decade. People of all ages can ride in high-powered go-karts and race around a challenging circuit with many twists and turns.
The Highlands’ trademark taxi, a Porsche Cayenne Turbo, can take you for a thrilling spin around the world-famous racetrack any day of the week. At speeds of up to 180 kilometres per hour, you will feel some serious g-force on this once-in-a-lifetime thrill ride.
In addition to a world-class, full-speed racing track, the grounds have a cafe, sculpture garden and museum along with their famous Loo with a View – each of the toilets has one-way glass which gives guests a stunning view of the race-track and has a different theme. The area is also perfect for taking in the sights of professional racing and the stunning landscape that surrounds Cromwell.
Here are some of our favourite places to eat out that we recommend visiting if you need a bite to eat while in Cromwell.
Recently awarded 2022 Cafe of the Year and located at the top of the Mall, Fusee Rouge is a must stop for breakfast or afternoon lunch. A super friendly team will serve you a selection of hot meals from their blackboard menu or you can choose from the amazing cabinet food. The coffee is great and always served with a smile. You can even find a Gold cider in the chiller if you fancy an afternoon drink in the sun.
Our favourite local is Five Stags at The Gate, a warm and friendly bar and restaurant. A great place to catch up with mates or get some lunch or dinner. Our personal favourites are the blue cod and chips and the goat curry. A true classic kiwi pub, where there is plenty of space to dine in with tour groups or big family events.
Newly opened, Broken Hive Mead are excited to announce the opening of Central Otago’s first meadery tasting room! Join them to sample the best mead in NZ! Located at 23 Clark Road, Pisa Central Otago.
You can also enjoy a light meal and coffee in their cafe and browse their gift selection.
Just opened in 2021, Sanga’s Pies has been an instant hit. The pie shop is tucked away in the industrial area at 4 Chardonnay Street, Cromwell, and the pies are more elevated than your standard tradie pie. They still have your classics, chicken, mince and mince and cheese, but you will also find, corned beef, seafood, breakfast, pork belly, and curry pies that put a bit of a twist on the classic kiwi pie.
They have become a staple go to for hungry Cromwell folk for breakfast or lunch – you can’t leave Cromwell without trying one!
We now have a great trail in our region, the Lake Dunstan Trail. The trail presents walkers and cyclists with a tough 55-kilometre ride (Grade 2-3) that passes through Central Otago’s distinctive and captivating scenery. Those who walk or ride their bicycles along the Lake Dunstan Trail will have the opportunity to marvel at the scenery and amazing suspension bridges that you can cycle over. The Lake Dunstan Trail not only extends and supplements the well-established Great Rides in Central Otago and the Southern Lakes, but it also provides a key link with the Otago Central Rail Trail and the Roxburgh Gorge Trail, both of which are a part of Nga Haerenga – New Zealand Cycle Trails. The new bike trail continues to grow in popularity bringing lots of people through to Cromwell.
The tasting of some of New Zealand’s world-famous wines is, without a doubt, one of the most amazing experiences that can be had in the country. If you have a passion for wine, Cromwell is the ideal location for you to be. At any time of the year, it is a simple matter to take a leisurely stroll from one winery in Cromwell to the next or you can venture a bit further to the wineries around Bannockburn.
The area is most famous for its Pinot Noir, and it produces a wide variety of wines, including organic, biodynamic, and conventional varieties. Due to Cromwell’s dry and arid climate, the pinot noir vine is able to flourish here, which results in the production of distinctively one-of-a-kind wines. Whether you prefer sweet and fragrant wines with earthy overtones and scents of black fruit, Cromwell captures all of that and more in your glass. Some wineries to visit include Carrick Winery, Misha’s Vineyard Tasting Room, River Rock Estate, Mt Difficulty Wines Cellar Door, Scott Base Vineyard, Quartz Reef Wines Cellar Door, to name but a few.
Under new ownership, Paintball Central, located at 1 Bannockburn Road, is Cromwell’s outdoor place to be, providing thrills to people of all ages across its 10 acres of open grounds.
Grab a paintball gun and head out on the hunt if you’re looking for a little bit of excitement (and don’t mind a little bit of a sting!). They will give you the necessary protective gear to wear, making it no dramas when you to get splattered with paint! It is without a doubt one of the most “adrenalin rush” things to do in Cromwell! This is a great activity when you have a whole gang because Paintball Central can accommodate groups of up to 50 people (although advance booking is essential)! There is nothing that brings people together quite like a little bit of fierce competition out there in the field. Either you do the chasing or you become the target in a few rounds of paintball, which makes it a fantastic way to work up a sweat. The team are super knowledgeable and will keep you safe as you play.
A visit to Cromwell is not complete until it includes at least one stop for a photo opportunity at the iconic Big Fruit sculpture. An enormous apple, apricot, nectarine, and pear are proudly displayed atop the illuminating sculpture that stands in the centre of Cromwell.
Despite the famous sculpture not containing any cherries or grapes, it still stands to represent our iconic fruit growing community. Maybe one day they might add some cherries and grapes!