Broken Hills Gold Mine

Our first stop of the day is Tairua to climb the Paku Summit. It’s a small volcanic cone with great views. We cheated a little by driving most of the way, leaving just a 45 min return walk, and the views of Pauanui are amazing.

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View of Pauanui from Paku Summit
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Tairua Beach from Paku Summit

Then a little play in the waves on the ocean beach. The beach has a very steep rake so the waves break late and large, so care is needed to survive!

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Tairua Beach
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Checking out the waves from the surf club
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Look behind you!
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RUN !!!

Tairua has some great freedom camp sites but we resisted staying here and wanted to explore something different. Nearby is the historic area of Broken Hills. Gold was discovered here in 1893 and all that remains are the ruins of old mines, battery sites and tunnels. The first trail took us to Golden Hills Battery. There are old mines along the way, all locked up, but there was a short tunnel open…

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What’s he looking at?
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A nest of Cave Wetas!
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Grand daddy Cave Weta

Only the foundations remain of the battery site, where rock was crushed and the gold extracted with a cyanide process – we shudder to think how much of that made it into the river.

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Old mine shafts
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Battery ruins

The trail looped into an adjoining loop named the Gem of Boom Creek. Just a good bush walk , but look out for the old jail cave.

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Old Jail Cave… what’s that in the back…
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Creepy old cell mate

We parked up in the DOC campground and headed off to find the Collins Drive tunnel. It’s a 2 hour return walk. Part of the trail follows an old water race with culverts and small tunnels, then a climb up the mountain to the 500m long tunnel. It wasn’t built for gold but for access through the steep mountain. And steep it was, as we discovered on the descent half of the trail. Well more of a goat track than a trail.

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Water Race trail
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Water Race trail
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Water Race tunnels
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Spooky guy in the Collins Drive tunnel
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500m of tunnel
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Perhaps this is the earthquake safety zone? Dont think about it.
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Lookout viewpoint
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Part of the goat track

It was a hot day so we couldn’t wait to plunge into a waterfall rock pool we spotted at the start of the trail, followed by some well earned cold beers back at the camp.

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