Cromwell is a town in Central Otago in the Otago region of New Zealand. Cromwell is between State Highway 6 (linking to Wanaka, 50 km north, and Queenstown, 60 km west) and State Highway 8 leading to the Lindis Pass, 75 km northeast, and Alexandra, 33 km south. The road to Alexandra winds through the Cromwell Gorge. A point near Cromwell lies 119 kilometres from the sea, the farthest from the sea anywhere in New Zealand. A prominent feature surrounding much of the town is the man-made Lake Dunstan. Cromwell also has the newly constructed Highlands Motorsport Park. Nearby settlements are at Bannockburn, Lowburn, Tarras, and Ripponvale. Cromwell is also the home of the Cromwell Chafer Beetle (Prodontria lewisi). The 45th parallel south runs just North of the township.
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Cromwell Museum can be found in the heart of the Cromwell Mall. It is open seven days a week from 10am – 4pm except for Christmas Day and Easter Friday and is Council owned but under the care of the Cromwell Museum Trust, headed by Director Edith McKay. The personnel helping are volunteers and bring a wide range of attributes and a wealth of information to the museum.
The Museum does not charge for entry but a gold coin donation is appreciated to help in the maintenance and developing new exhibitions.
The collections held by the museum have been built up over the years by donations and are of huge importance to the Cromwell township and surrounding area. Of particular interest to visitors and locals alike is the flooding of the Old Cromwell Town and surrounding orchards as part of the process of forming Lake Dunstan and the building the Clyde Dam.
The archaeological material and photographs are of national importance because the area has been subject of intensive archaeological investigation and research on both prehistoric and historic sites.
The only town in New Zealand boasting a 13 metre ‘Big Fruit’ statue celebrating the importance of fruit growing to the Central Otago economy, there’s no mistaking you have arrived in Cromwell. Just a hundred or so metres along State Highway 8B from the giant apricot, apple, pear and nectarine, Cromwell offers another compelling reason for stopping ‘The Gate’, a stand-out attraction for travellers and locals alike. Based on the strong bones and timeless design of a large and eye-catching building complex at a gateway location on the corner of State Highway 8B and Cromwell’s main street, Barry Avenue, The Gate is the distinctive steep gable roof over the the stand-alone brands featured above… Being just an hour from the centre of Queenstown, a little over half an hour from Wanaka and only a couple of hours from the West Coast glaciers, Cromwell is also an ideal rest stop and where better to relax or stretch your legs than The Gate’s Village Green. Here landscaping and planting have created a wonderful space where besides such luxuries as bean bags, white-painted pergolas with timber shade fins and low concrete walls, there is a variety of seating and gathering areas, including a children’s play zone. The spacious, easy parking grounds of The Gate also include Cromwell Super Liquor, an independent outlet where you’ll likely find your favourite brands of beer, spirits and wines.
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