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Situated in the north-east corner of Gauteng province, is the beautiful town of Cullinan – just a short 30 minutes drive from Pretoria.
Richly lined with both Jacarandas and Oak trees, Cullinan’s main street (Oak Avenue) is a living museum and favourite destination amongst tourists.
Whether you’re looking to spend some cash in one of the little shops, or enjoy a delicious lunch with friends or take a lazy stroll down the historical street, there is much to see and do in Oak Avenue.
The Cullinan Diamond Mine, probably the most popular attraction in Cullinan, offers visitors an informative glimpse into the operations and history of this historic mine where the world’s biggest diamond was found in 1905.
When visiting the Diamond Mine, one should definitely make time to spend in the surrounding small Victorian town itself as well, exploring it’s rich history and breathtaking charm.
The following is a list of ShowMe Pretoria’s favourite Oak Avenue shops and restaurants:
- Definitely worth the visit, As Greek As It Gets (see photo below) is a popular greek restaurant with a wonderful artsy-craftsy atmosphere and delicious food. Chef Patron Stavros Vladislavic’s restaurant is also known for an extensive wine list, and well-known as one of Cullinan’s most famed and loved restaurants.
- A must visit for antique lovers, is the Rust In White shop (top most picture), famous for it’s rusted items with a unique form of shabby chic. The shop’s garden is quite a feast for the eye, colourfully decorated with wonky old rusted items, from plates to pots, cups, watering cans and more.
- A venue that is truly worth the visit, Jan Harmsgat se Agterplaas is not known for the selling of a big variety of artsy products, but also houses a popular barnyard theatre. The Agterplaas is also a popular venue that hosts weddings, birthday celebrations, corporate functions and conferences, tailor-made to every need.
- Looking for a place to stay? Oak House is a popular guest house ideally situated close to all major Cullinan tourist attractions, including the Prima Lux Enterprises diamond wholesalers.
- Shops well worth the visit in Oak Avenue includes The Cockpit Brewhouse, The Art of Silver shop for fine silver jewellery, classic timepieces, rare coins and investment art, The Lemon Tree garden restaurant and the Cullinan Information Centre.
- Make sure to stop by The Rose Pantry for a wide selection of preserves, pickles and dutch cheese. Another famous destination of tourists to Cullinan is the Whispering Oaks Garden Café and the modern chic Harries Pancakes restaurant.
- To those interested in architecture and the rich history of the Victorian town, be sure to stop to take a picture of Nedbank branch of Premier Mine, a beautiful old sand-stone building with a rich history.
- Famous for their relaxing Sunday Breakfast, the popular Under The Oaks restaurant is a must visit for food lovers.
- For those looking for a place to spend some cash in Oak Avenue, there’s the Cullinan Jewel Shopping Centre – a recently upgraded complex that caters for all the sectors represented in Cullinan whilst adding to the town’s renowned ‘old world’ charm.
Just around the corner, or close to Oak Avenue:
- Cullinan Diamond Inn & Spa - A 3 Star Inn and first-class treat, with spa treatments that are provided as an in-room service – providing the ultimate in intimacy and luxury. The Cullinan Diamond Inn & Spa also boasts a swimming pool and Jacuzzi, beautiful fireplace for relaxing and enjoying friends and family as well as safe and secure parking.
- Cullinan Premier Hotel - Beautifully restored to its former splendour, the Cullinan Premier Hotel, established in 1906, boasts 16 luxurious and spacious rooms, all fully equipped with en-suite bathrooms. The hotel also features a Cigar Lounge, fine dine restaurant and is a popular destination for biker and biking clubs visiting Cullinan.
- Cullinan Diamond Lodge - An exclusive lodge and conference venue, recently restored and refurbished. Apart from 28 stylish twin rooms, it also hosts a restaurant and true to the artistic flavour, Cathy’s Art Gallery. Cullinan Diamond Lodge provides the perfect setting for weddings, conferences, special family get-togethers or formal business encounters for up to 180 guests.
- Oppistasie Restaurant - Situated opposite the Cullinan Railway Station in Hotel Street, the Oppistasie Restaurant is situated so close to the mine, you can see the big hole from the restaurant. The old station building, built in 1902, has been newly renovated into a full a-la-cart restaurant with bar on the railroad tracks.
More things-to-do in Cullinan:
- Adventure: Horseback Africa offers Bushveld safari experiences on horseback and the Premier Game Park offers walks, hikes and mountain trails. The drop zone of the Pretoria Skydiving Club is near the Windybrow Reserve with their planes departing from the Wonderboom Airport.
- Arts & Crafts: The “Wag ‘n Bietjie” Route visits spots in and around town where products such as honey, beadwork, pottery and carvings are sold. The route is open on the first weekend of each month.
- Fauna & Flora: The Premier Game Reserve, adjoining the Premier Mine that forms part of the mine property, is situated just 3 kilometres outside Cullinan and offers day and night game drives, walks and hikes.
- Landmarks: Noteworthy landmarks in Cullinan includes; The 32ha Big Hole that was caused by the removal of more than 300 million tons of ore in the search for diamonds, the Cullinan Mystique, a historical building that dates back to 1904. It houses a collection of murals painted by Italian prisoners-of-war during the Second World War, and which was only recently discovered during renovations to the building. Visitors to the town should also visit the 70 McHardy House Museum, once the home of the first Mine Manager, William McHardy. The St George’s Anglican Church a beautiful old stone church, and the Zonderwater Prison that commemorates Italian prisoners of war and internees who died during their internment is also popular tourist attractions.
More photos of Cullinan: