Waihi

Friday 12th December

Cornish Pumphouse

Cornish Pumphouse

We took a drive to Waihi via Paeroa.  They have a few antique shops – I invested in another old lock for my collection..

Waihi is a gold mine owned by Newmont.  The town has a giant open pit right in the middle and it is just getting deeper all the time.  They first discovered the gold in the 1870’s but by about 1912 they stopped underground mining, with open cut mining continuing up until 1952.  When the gold price spiked, mining was kick started again in the 1980’s and became a huge open cut mine.  They have done some interesting things, for instance Newmont commissioned the move of the Cornish Pumphouse by some 300 mts.  Not sure why, as it is an  extremely ugly concrete structure that is totally stripped out internally.  The Gold Discovery Centre is a fabulous new tourism interpretive centre that opened 10 weeks ago.  The town has recognised that the mine has a short time to go (2020) and they need to be prepared for tourism to help fill the void.

The  town today is a good feel to it with many shops, cafes and people.  The streets are filled with great sculptures that tell a story of yesteryear.  The streetscapes have appropriate lighting and bins to compliment the town’s history and heritage.

Waihi Beach is a further 10 minute drive and although much smaller has a vibrant community atmosphere with great restaurants – we dined in one and had a fabulous meal.

Martha Mine open pit

Martha Mine open pit

Gold Discovery Centre

Gold Discovery Centre

One thing I would like to come back and do is the Hauraki Rail Trail and in particular the Karangahake Gorge.