Ross Water Race Walkway

Ross Water Race Walkway

Ross Water Race Walkway


11 Rankers Reviews

7 Face-to-Face

6 Hokitika

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


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Restored Mining Town in Ross


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

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


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.


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.


Feature Value Info


South IslandWest CoastHokitika


  • Walking
  • Free


Patrick's avatar


Ranking: 10/10

Nice, interesting 1 hour walk.

Reviewed almost 3 years ago

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 3 years ago

Rima's avatar


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 5 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 7 years ago

Harriet Holm's avatar

Harriet Holm


Ranking: 9/10

Lovely forest walk.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

Ray Coombe's avatar

Ray Coombe


Ranking: 9/10

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

Reviewed almost 10 years ago and experienced in November 2011

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J Meindersma's avatar

J Meindersma


Ranking: 8/10

Track one hour.

Reviewed over 10 years ago

Tom Bos's avatar

Tom Bos


Ranking: 8/10


Reviewed over 11 years ago

PamB's avatar



Ranking: 7/10

Nice walk with some explanations of the gold mining history.

Reviewed almost 12 years ago and experienced in April 2009

DOC Managed

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