Bannockburn Sluicings

Felton Road, Bannockburn, Central Otago

  • Bannockburn Sluicings, Central Otago. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Shellie Evans . Taken By: Shellie Evans – flyingkiwigirl. Date: 3/06/2017.
  • Bannockburn Sluicings, Central Otago. Some of the sluiced terraces and pinnacles at Bannockburn.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Andrew Winter. Date: 1/08/2013.
  • Bannockburn sluicings. Central Otago.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 5612 Date Entered 10th April 1985


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Pt Lot 1 DP 26776 (OT18D/464), Otago Land District, and the archaeological sites associated with the Bannockburn sluicings. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Heritage New Zealand Board meeting on 30 April 2015.

City/District Council

Central Otago District


Otago Region

Legal description

Pt Lot 1 DP 26776 (OT18D/464), Otago Land District


Bannockburn Sluicings with their towering cliffs and deep ravines create a stark landscape that offers a dramatic illustration of the results of hydraulic sluicing and provides evidence of gold miners’ workings from the 1870s through until the early twentieth century. This is one of the best examples of hydraulic workings in Otago.

On the river terrace overlooking the Kawarau River, approximately a square kilometre of river terrace has been sluiced away to allow miners to get to the gold-bearing gravels lying beneath. Miners used both ground-sluicing and hydraulic sluicing technologies, as well as some tunnelling. Ground sluicing involves directing the flow of ground water over the ground miners want to wash away, using a water race. In hydraulic sluicing, miners direct water under high pressure through a nozzle at the sluice face. In each case, the gold is caught in a tray as the sluiced material is passed through a riffle box or similar. A tail race that leads away from the sluice face carries waste material away, except for heavy stones which are stacked into tailings.

The Bannockburn Sluicings comprise an extensive area of sluiced waste land, covered with heaps of tailings, and with tailings-filled gullies around the margins. The head races, fed from Menzies Dam, above, lead out to the tops of the gullies. The sides of the gullies are the sluice faces that were left when mining ended, and the floors of the gullies contain tail races and carefully stacked stone tailings. Some of the gullies have tunnels where the miners tried to get at pay dirt more quickly than by sluicing. The water races that fed the sluicings reach out into the landscape up into the Carrick Range.

The land was included in the Bannockburn Sluicings Historic Reserve gazetted in 2000. In 2015, the Bannockburn Sluicings remain part of the Otago Goldfields Park, and a well signposted walk through them takes about 1.5 hours and includes the related sites - Menzies Dam (Record No. 5611) and Stewart Town (Record No. 5610).


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Hydraulic sluicing begins at Bannockburn

Public NZAA Number



Completion Date

9th February 2015

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

Department of Conservation

Department of Conservation

Stephenson, 2004

Janet Stephenson, Heather Bauchop and Peter Petchey, 'Bannockburn Heritage Landscape Study', Department of Conservation, Science and Research Unit, Wellington 2004

Hamel, 2001

Jill Hamel, The Archaeology of Otago, Department of Conservation, Wellington, 2001

Other Information

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Otago/Southland Office of Heritage New Zealand