Otago Road Trip Part 2

The theme for my trip was 19th century economic development, so I planned my trip around pastoralism and gold mining.  In case you didn’t know NZ had a gold rush in the 1860s, and Otago was one of the main sites.

The next day I headed south to Totara Estate.  This was the site of the first shipment of frozen meat leaving NZ.  However I was there far earlier than they opened so I didn’t have any of the living history people roaming about while I was there.

Totara Estate

They have a slection of heritage breeds of sheep.  One pen had a pair of very tame lambs that ran over to me as soon as I appeared.

Enough to make me a vegetarian

Site of the pig house

This was the main part of the operation.  The slaughterhouse is on the left and the large open area has the remains of the piggery – pigs were fed the offal and other waste from the slaughterhouse.  The slaughterhouse now houses a museum.

From another angle

I then headed down the road to another HPT site – Clark’s Mill.

The mill is only open in the summer

I went to Moeraki but since it was raining I couldn’t be bothered looking at the boulders.  I then headed inland.

to Ranfurly.

Look at the deco!

Ranfurly is a stop on the Otago Rail Trail, and is very well set up for slightly affluent tourists bimbling around on bicycles.  I was there about 10am and a collectibles shop was already open.  Wonderful kitschy crap and a pile of Crown Lynn.

I then moved on to Naseby.  This was on the recommendation of my Y13 students.

An old gold town

It’s quite pretty but there was absolutely NO life at all.

The main street

You can go curling there but I didn’t, as  Zadok was distracted by this:

A Sunshine!

This was a special edition Mini 1000 with a factory-fitted sunroof and a special ‘sunshine’ coloured paint.  Isn’t it lovely?

I returned to the main road briefly before turning off to Oturehua.  This is the site of Haye’s Engineering Works, one of the HPT’s key properties.  At the turnoff is a reasonably-sized HPT sign, but they know what draws people in – there is a bigger sign with TOILET-EFTPOS-COFFEE on it.

This is the site.

E. Hayes invented a wire strainer and made a fortune.  I was surprised at how small the workshop complex was.

Battery charger


The forge

Across the way is the homestead.

It has beds for formal gardens, but these haven’t been replanted.

Inside it has been somewhat restored.




The Hayes 1939 giveaway: a war map!

They have a little cafe here which does a reasonable trade with rail trail cyclists.  I bought a somewhat overpriced lunch only to support the HPT.

From there I moved on to Ophir

only to take a photo of the post office

There isn’t really anything else here.

I mean it.

I then continued on to Alexandra.  They have a little museum here that is reasonable.  I found the electricity map quite interesting.  I has the location and capacity of all our power resources.  Tiwai Point uses 18 petajoules annually!

Regional museum random: a collection of salt and pepper shakers.

Winning entries in the Wool Fasion Awards. Last year’s one (centre) is a tribute to Christchurch cathedral. Errr . . ok.

I then headed out to the Earnscleugh tailings.  These are remains from river dredging for gold.  Ignore all other directions: the brochures are misleading.  Just take Earnscleugh Rd until you see a sign pointing right with tiny writing (about the Alexandra Centennial Walk) then take that road and go on the walking track.

They’re HUGE.

The site is about 2kmx1km and has a walk around it, but I took a 10min walk to this lookout.

At least 30m high

I then continued up to Conroy’s Gully.  Once again the brochures are useless – just take Conroy’s Rd and turn off where the sign says Conroy’s Dam.  There is a mirror on a pole next to it.

The dam

Normally this would make a nice picnic spot but it was raining and awful when I went.  If you have a crap car you could drive a bit further up but I didn’t want to risk my low clearance on the pothole in the dirt road.

Once again more tailings. These were reworked by Chinese miners.

I knew there was a hut on the trail somewhere but the weather kept worsening until it started snowing!  Just when I wasd about to call it off I found this

A restoration for a film, but still cool.


The other side

Once again the pamphlets are out-of-date – the hut is on the marked track after about 2km.  There are also some other remains

Possibly another hut or a reservior for sluicing

I turned back to town.

View back down the valley towards Alexandra

I stayed at the Alexandra Backpackers and was the only guest!  $25 for a dorm room all to myself.  It’s quite a way from the supermarket (at the end of Centennial Ave on the way to Clyde).

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