Ross Water Race Walkway

Ross Water Race Walkway

95%

Details

11 Rankers Reviews

7 Face-to-Face

134 Walking

7 Hokitika

Maps

Information

Time: 45 minutes return Features Rainforest, gold history, relics, old cemetery.

The Then and now of Ross’s 150 year gold mining heritage

Access

In Ross, follow signs to the information centre, where SH6 does a sharp 90 degree turn. There is parking by the heritage centre and toilets.

Track

Following the track anticlockwise, pass the Old Gaol, reconstructed water wheel and sluice nozzle and continue on the rough section of Mt Greenland Road.

After 15 minutes, a signposted foot track leads into the forest and climbs to join an old section of the water race. Look for excavations alongside the track, old pipes, tunnels, timber and stone works. There is an evocative relic miners hut near the dam and sluice gate.

Traverse the picketed cemetery before descending via St James St back to the carpark.

European History

Early sluicing at Ross commenced in 1865 with watercourses being diverted to flow over the gravel faces, causing a collapse. Low pressure nozzles were soon replaced with high pressure ones.

Shafts were sunk and horses used to ascend and lower cages. When steam power arrived in 1868, poppet heads materialised like metal triffids over the Jones Flat. The clang of machines went day and night as shafts were sunk deeper under the West Coast coastal plain. Groundwater seepage into the tunnels finally put paid to deeper excavations and by 1872 underground mining was abandoned.

Ground sluicing followed. This technique exploited the cliff faces of moraine by systematically disassembling them using high speed water jets. An elaborate water race channelled water to the cannons, which forced the fluid through a decreasing diameter pipe, to finally be released with force. By directing the nozzle, the gravels could be dislodged from the working face. The fine rock was then washed over sluice boxes, where gravity separated the heavier gold from the finer sand.

Hydraulic sluicing was responsible for nearly 40,000 ounces of gold being recovered from the Mont d’Or Mine. The elaborate system of dams, water races, sluice gates, piping, ditches, tunnels and flumes became the infrastructure with which the gold was won.

Mining in the Ross area ceased in 1897.

Details

Feature Value Info

Location

South IslandWest CoastHokitika

Categories

  • Walking
  • Free

Contact

Reviews

Patrick's avatar

Patrick

Ranking: 10/10

Nice, interesting 1 hour walk.

Reviewed 10 months ago

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Mike Fricker's avatar

Mike Fricker

Ranking: 9/10

19Oct18. A good walk through the bush. A few interesting info boards and relics.
Cemetery was interesting. Some of the inscriptions show just how hard life was back then. Quite a few were from Ireland, a couple of them from close to my home in UK.
There could maybe be a bit more info on the way round the walk but it was good nonetheless.

Reviewed about 1 year ago

Rima's avatar

Rima

Ranking: 10/10

Brilliant. Old tunnels and at the end you will end up on the river where they found the first piece of gold. If you look in the sand you will see some tiny shiny gold flakes:)

Reviewed about 3 years ago

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Kerry Painter's avatar

Kerry Painter

New Zealand

Ranking: 10/10

A great family walk. Even though the path is quite steep at times for younger children there are plenty of sights to keep them interested such as the miners hut, the cemetery and the small tunnels.

Reviewed almost 5 years ago

Harriet Holm's avatar

Harriet Holm

Denmark

Ranking: 9/10

Lovely forest walk.

Reviewed over 7 years ago

Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.

Ray Coombe's avatar

Ray Coombe

Australia

Ranking: 9/10

Interesting and informative restoration of historic buildings and walk around mining sites and cemetery etc.

Reviewed almost 8 years ago and experienced in November 2011

J Meindersma's avatar

J Meindersma

Netherlands

Ranking: 8/10

Track one hour.

Reviewed over 8 years ago

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Tom Bos's avatar

Tom Bos

Netherlands

Ranking: 8/10

Interesting

Reviewed over 9 years ago

PamB's avatar

PamB

Netherlands

Ranking: 7/10

Nice walk with some explanations of the gold mining history.

Reviewed over 9 years ago and experienced in April 2009

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Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Nick Morrison's avatar

Nick Morrison

Rankers owner