Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Wakamarina River Gold fields.

The Wakamarina River.

This cairn was erected to commemorate the Gold Rush and all the miners who worked the claims..

In 1860 a pioneer lady washing her clothes in the Wakamarina River spotted gold sparkling in the river bed. Four years later word got out of the discovery and four men started gold panning, quickly and easily finding 18 ounces of the valuable metal on the first day. Soon the whole river valley was pegged out in mining claims and men came from all over New Zealand and from overseas as well to dredge the river and to pan for the gold. A gold rush was on, small townships sprung up in the valley, but they didn't last many years, and there is almost nothing at all to show for all the diggings. All in all 24838 ounces of gold is considered to have been exported from this small river.
The Summer has been a very warm one, so we decided to take our caravan and head to the Pinedale Motor camp in the Wakamarina Valley so we could swim in the cool clear refreshing waters.
At the enterance to the camp we found these 2 old gold dredge buckets and old fly wheel from one of the old dredges.
Down near the river we found a couple old tail races that had been dug out by pick and shovell during the gold rush days, so the excess water could be drained back into the river trapping small gold nuggets on the way. These are very over grown but are still flowing after all those years.
We parked our caravan under the shade of this big tree, so we didn't get sun burnt, there were not very many others staying at this camp, it is slightly of the beaten track, but very well worth the effort of driving the 14km of the main Blenheim/Nelson highway, there are good emenities available in the kitchen and the big lounge, and the camp owners are very friendly and helpful. The camp is surrounded by beautiful big old Black Birch trees that looked lovely with the setting sun shining through the branches.
There are tracks down to the river, quite steep but with steps cut in the steepest parts, so down we went to have a cooling swim in one of the deep pools. The water has a pretty greenish tinge to it but is crystal clear and rather cold, very refreshing. There are lots of nice walks to take from the camp to where gold was found and also to a tunnel that was also dug my hand, you can walk through this tunnel but it is cold and dark and muddy so I didn't. .
The one problem is the small hungry sandflies that bite any part of you that has not been liberally coated with insect repellent.
During the time we were staying in the camp an old fossicer goldminer came with his gold pan and shovell and spent the day panning for gold, we didn't see him until he was about to go home, so weren't able to catch him panning but he did show me the small number of mixed size gold nuggets he had managed to find in the river shingle, and he told me it was a very poor days work, often he finds much more. Although there are gold pans for the campers use, free of charge we didn't take the time and the energy to do any panning for ourselves this time, but I have tried my luck a few years ago and got a few tiny flecks for my efforts.

This is My World do go look at all the other places too.


Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Thanks for sharing. Great photos and history.

Louise said...

Really interesting, and wonderful photos!

Baruch said...

Interesting photos and it's great to see another New Zealander on MWT

alicesg said...

Very interesting camping site. The surrounding area looked like a fun place to explore.

fishing guy said...

Glennis: How wonderful to share that neat story of the gold mine times. You got some great photos of the area.

Marja said...

Hi dear Glennis Thanks for visiting me I love your blog so I ad it straight away. Nice to meet someone from Picton. We stayed there for the night a few times and we had a holiday a few years ago at whitesbay (beautiful) near Blenheim
I didn't know there was gold in the whakamarina river. I am on my way

Life with Kaishon said...

How exciting! I would love to go somewhere and search for gold!
PS Your music is very cool!

Reader Wil said...

What an interesting post. We were also on the South Island and saw another place where it was said that we could find gold. There were more people. An Englisman suddenly cried out loud:"Gold, gold... I've found gold!"His family gathered around him and couldn't stop laughing. He had been very funny by putting his weddingring in the mud.

Lawstude said...

these are beautiful shots on a seemingly spring setting. great job.

let me share my white water rafting adventure to you here

2sweetnsaxy said...

Looks like a wonderful place. I haven't been camping in a while. This makes me miss it. Great shots. :-)

Jenn said...

The water in the river looks so refreshing. Nice story behind it as well. Thanks for sharing.


Grammy said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful world. I love the photos.
Have a great week.
Missouri, USA


Great pictures - and a good story to follow! Love the green colour on the river. The place looks inviting!

Anonymous said...

Hello all

Over the past 30 years, Mansour Engineering have completed thousands of projects of varying degrees of complexity in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Quebec, the Yukon and Northwest territories

[url=] click here to go to Mansour Engineering[/url]