Home > New Zealand > Waihi – Heart of Gold.

Waihi – Heart of Gold.

November 9, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

After a couple of average holiday park campsites, we decide to hit the DOC (Department of Conservation) campsites a little harder. We find a lovely little site by a river in a secluded valley called Dickey Flats. The place is idyllic and a great base for walking down the gorge to Karangahake gold mining town. The signboard suggested torches and before long, we were in dark wet and narrow tunnels cutting through the gorge, much to Jo’s displeasure. Even the glow worms hanging from the ceiling didn’t cheer her up.


next to our campsite - we even managed to brave the cold for a swim

walking through the "bush" - this pipe powered the pelton wheel

A couple of hours walk downstream we stumbled on the ruins for the old mine workings, and what really hits you is the endeavour and the single minded pursuit to get rich. The effort that they went to was unbelievable – a true lesson in getting what you want if you want it hard enough. Various ruins litter the place, with old pump houses, battery stamps, old cyanide tanks and railway lines, much of it manufactured in Manchester and London.

great walk down the valley

These places are all up the gorge, near to where the power sources and ore were located, but right in the middle of Waihi town there is a massive open cast gold mine. This is the site of the original mine, and after a few years mothballing, it was re-opened and been operating since the 1970’s. This 260m deep mine is truly enormous, it takes 25 minutes for the massive 90 ton trucks to actually make it out and by sheer co-incidence they were blasting whilst we were there.
I say blasting, it was actually little more than 3 puffs of smoke and a little jiggling of the ground. Satisfied that the whole face of the mine was not about to erupt into clouds of smoke, we headed for a few pictures to a retired JCB before turning right and on to Rotorua.

"there are more cyanide tanks over there daddy!"

can you make out the puff of smoke near the centre - that's the explosion

night clouds over Waihi

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