Waiuta is an almost abandoned gold mining town, 38 km south-east of Reefton. The town grew to provide accommodation for miners who worked at the nearby Blackwater mine which became the West Coast’s richest gold mine.
The town is now designated a protected area, under the care of the Department of Conservation, the few local residents and a volunteer society, the Friends of Waiuta.
Today, the town is almost empty of buildings but still full of history and a great place to visit. There are many mining relics from the days when hundreds worked there, and some of the town’s orginal building still stand, including the former police station, three cottages and the old barber shop.
There are a great range of walks around the town’s streets and nearby mine and battery sites.
You can either drive or climb up the hill to the Prohibition mine where you get views of Paparoa Range and Southern Alps in the distance. On a clear day you can see Mount Cook. There is also New Zealand’s deepest mineshaft, 879 metres straight down, the last 300m are below sea level.
There are lots of great photo boards and nice areas for a picnic. A step back in time and wonderful place to visit.
How to get there:
Access to Waiuta is signposted from State Highway 7, 58 km north of Greymouth and 21 km south of Reefton.
A 9 km drive up a narrow sealed road first takes you to Blackwater, where there is a very interesting old school that is open to the public (see the Blackwater School post). Beyond Blackwater a good gravel road winds up through forest for 8km to emerge on Waiuta’s Top Road. The main information area is about half a kilometre on, overlooking the Blackwater Mine site.