Travel outside of New Zealand and you might not find many folks who have heard of St. Bathans or its stunning Blue Lake. The Southern Hemisphere’s deepest man-made mining hole formed the gold-sluicing days of the late 1800s and was filled with water in the 1930s.
As a location for stand-up paddleboarding, the world’s fastest growing sport, Blue Lake is pretty hard to beat. The waters were glassy still as we circumnavigated the shoreline, paddling beneath the lake’s white clay cliffs. Then it was back to the tiny townships’ reputedly haunted Vulcan Hotel for a restorative ale.
With only ten permanent residents, modern-day St. Bathans is a far cry from the 2,000-person boomtown it was at the height of the gold rush. But this historic village still attracts plenty of visitors looking for a pleasant escape amongst its sleepy buildings, easy walking tracks, and hidden camping spots.