St Bathans Old gold mining site

It was still early in the day when we saw a signpost pointing down a side road, Blue Lake, 17km. The tourist map didn’t mention it, so we decided to explore….

It was a good sealed road winding through fertile farming country. As we turned a corner the view above made us gasp and jump out with our cameras. It had been a rich gold mining area and signs everywhere warned not to wander off the tracks as old mine workings and diggings were concealed in the undergrowth. With the white limestone, eroded cliffs and the sun sparkling on the dazzling blue lake it was a side trip certainly worth taking. In the 1860’s this had been a very rich seam and thousands flocked here. The gold soon petered out and miners moved on and like other towns in this area it became a sleepy little farming community. One very memorable heritage building remains, the Vulcan Hotel. What a beauty it was to find right on lunch time….

Vulcan Hotel

Ordering lunch

Look at those yummy muffins, home made…

St Bathans real estate, a lot of blood,sweat and tears ahead for the buyer…

St Bathans real estate

We spent over 2 hours wandering around, having lunch, chatting with the landlady before we moved on.

Travel is all about finding these unexpected gems. The big-ticket numbers that the tourist industry promote are also worth seeing, but it gives your journey a special memory to cherish and you move on with a feeling of joy to have found an off the beaten track place.

Another bonus is the road is a round trip back to the main road. No traffic and we can dawdle along enjoying the scenery. We reach the highway and now have to find a place to stay for the night.

St Bathans history

Categories: gold mining, New Zealand, travel | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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