Saint Bathans, New Zealand

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For the community in Scotland, see Abbey St Bathans.
Old gold-buying office of the Bank of New South Wales, St. Bathans, Central Otago

The former gold and coal mining town of Saint Bathans, formerly named Dunstan Creek, lies deep in the heart of the Maniototo in New Zealand's Otago region. Mining has long ceased, and it is a tranquil holiday retreat. The preservation of many of its historic buildings makes it one of the region's more picturesque tourist venues. Saint Bathans is well known for its scenic man-made lake with beautiful looking clay cliffs that attract many tourists. It is currently a camping spot, and swimming is allowed in the lake.

Vulcan Hotel, St Bathans

It is 40 kilometres northwest of Ranfurly and 60 kilometres northeast of Alexandra, near Dunstan Creek, beneath the Saint Bathans Range and Dunstan mountains. It takes its name from Abbey St Bathans in Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders.

Prominent features include the historic Vulcan Hotel and the Blue Lake, a small lake formed during gold-sluicing, which gives it a distinctive turquoise colour. The area attracts many visitors intent on gold-prospecting.

Vulcan Hotel[edit]

The Vulcan Hotel is a restored and reputedly haunted public house, located on the main street of St. Bathans, and is the town's main tourist attraction. Originally called the Ballarat Hotel, it was built in 1882 of mud brick.[1] The building is registered as a Category I historic place by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.[2] The building is notable as possibly the country's most famous haunted building.[3] Room 1 of the hotel is reputedly home to the spirit of a young woman, thought by some to be a prostitute known "the Rose", who was strangled to death in the hotel in the 1880s.[4]

Saint Bathans mammal[edit]

In 2006, scientists reported the finding of nontherian mammal fossils in the Manuherikia Group near Saint Bathans. Previously it had been thought that bats were the only terrestrial mammals native to New Zealand. Dubbed the SB mammal (for Saint Bathans), the scientists' analysis indicates that the creature has a lineage distinct from monotremes (egg-laying mammals), eutherians (placental mammals) and metatherians (marsupials).[5]

Other taxa[edit]

The Saint Bathans formation also bears fossils of moa, mekosuchine crocodiles, turtles, skinks, tuataras, geckoes, at least eight taxa of waterfowl, a petrel, Accipitriformes, rails, a possible seagull, herons, a palaelodid flamingo, pigeons, parrots, a swift, an owlet-nightjar, passerines, the enigmatic Aptornis and a primitive kiwi, Proapteryx.[6]


Coordinates: 44°52′S 169°49′E / 44.867°S 169.817°E / -44.867; 169.817