Central Otago’s Heritage

Vipers Bugloss on the roadside to Poolburn, Central Otago, New Zealand

To celebrate Central Otago’s incredible and diverse heritage, the heritage Central Otago organisation invited professional and amateur photographers to put Heritage in Focus. It, the Central Otago Heritage Trust has teamed up with Tourism Central Otago to tell the stories of our heritage through images.

How they defined “Heritage”:

“Heritage will mean different things to different people, so we’ve taken a broad view of what heritage means.  Your photo could focus on tangible things like historical buildings, trees, natural landscapes, streetscapes, signage or historical objects. Or you might have a more intangible interpretation of what Central Otago heritage means. This might include things like cultural heritage, family or social traditions, or other personal expressions of heritage. The creative boundaries are yours to define!

You may have already taken some great photos that have a focus on heritage. You can enter these photos into the competition, as long as they’ve been taken within the last three years.”

Submitting a maximum of five images not older than three years seemed a challenge at first, but in retrospect a blessing. If I’d been able to utilise a couple of decades worth the selection process would have involved sifting through several hundred.

The other aspect that took a little time was defining the actual physical boundaries of Central Otago. Their website map was small and a tad vague however it only took a quick email to ask if the likes of the Nevis Valley fell within the borders.

My personal sifting and selection process

I searched on keywords I’ve ascribed to folders/images, and also let the question settle into my subconscious. In the case of the latter a few days later I’d recall a trip and it’s images.

This got me to about one and a half doz. Some of which I emailed to friends to ask their idea of which I should consider. When done I then created thumbnails so each could be seen in the context of the whole.

By a process of subtraction the many were eventually whittled down to five. Along the way I made a new thumbnail file each time, and would randomise the order too. Eventually arriving at the below:

Clyne’s cottage in the lower Nevis, Central Otago, New Zealand
Clyne’s cottage originally constructed in the lower Nevis township by Clem Sutherland in 1898
  • [ ] Surrounded by golden grasses, rose hip bushes, native matagouri, and the occasional willow for shelter the cottage is a rustic relic in a landscape marked by the remnants of gold mining. What truly makes this image precious is its evolution – from a miner’s abode to a cherished holiday home, embodying the timeless Kiwiana style. This transformation mirrors Central Otago itself, adapting to the kinder summers while preserving its historic charm.

Historic cottage in snow at Hills Rd. At the junction of SH85 and Hills Rd. Central Otago, New Zealand
Historic cottage in snow at Hills Rd. At the junction of SH85 and Hills Rd.
  • [ ] This ageing structure, nestled near what was once a bullock track, harkens back to Central Otago’s early days when gold mining and farming forged the region’s identity. A testament to the rugged pioneers of the past. It now finds refuge amidst strategically planted trees, offering both shelter and firewood. While its weathered exterior whispers stories of a bygone era, it remains a practical asset on a modern farm. It’s a living relic that bridges the gap between history and utility in this corner of Central Otago.

Homestead campsite hut Oteake Conservation Park, Central Otago, New Zealand
Homestead campsite hut Oteake Conservation Park
  • [ ] Situated within the rugged expanse of Central Otago’s Oteake Conservation Park, the “Homestead Campsite” is more than its basic description implies. This enduring structure, ensconced by ancient, gnarled trees, embodies the essence of the region’s history. Probably originally erected for farming and perhaps rabbiters, this resilient building has been meticulously restored by DOC, retaining its rustic charm. Today, it stands as a haven for adventurers exploring the St Bathans and Hawkdun Ranges, offering shelter and a communal kitchen area, a living testament to the pioneering spirit that shaped Central Otago’s heritage.

Stewart Town cottage remains above Bannockburn on the walk to Stewart Town. Central Otago, New Zealand
Stewart Town cottage remains above Bannockburn on the walk to Stewart Town
  • [ ] These meager rock walls, now no taller than one’s waist, stand as the remnants of a humble miner’s refuge in the heart of Bannockburn. Their stark simplicity tells a poignant tale of the relentless pursuit of gold that once consumed this region. Behind them, the formidable vertical cliff, shaped by the ceaseless sluicing for precious metal, looms as a testament to the determination and bravery of those early miners. This barren landscape, devoid of sheltering trees, to me still epitomises the flavour of the day as the ruins, standing silent amidst the golden history, serve as poignant relics of a bygone era fraught with the ceaseless search for riches, ultimately limited by limited sources of water.

Two trees, snow and road lower Nevis valley, Central Otago, New Zealand
Two trees and road lower Nevis valley
  • [ ] In the, bleak snow-covered expanse of the lower Nevis Valley, two weathered willow trees stand as solitary sentinels. They bear silent witness to a time when the only passage through this unforgiving terrain was a rudimentary road, once traversed by bullock teams and later by hard tyre’d lorries laden with supplies for the tenacious miners. These supplies included massive loads of metal pipes and machinery, essential for the operation of the numerous gold dredges that once dominated the landscape. Here, in this stark, treeless realm, shelter is but a distant memory. What captivates me in this image is its stark, unadorned simplicity—a profound reminder of the relentless struggle for survival in a valley notorious for its heavy snowfall and brutal exposure. The very backbone of Central Otago’s heritage.

And now all that remains is to wait for the results, and maybe even some prize money 🙂

Embracing the Ethereal Beauty of Winter: A Journey through Fog, Hoar Frost, and Sunlit Wonders

Hoar frost on two willow trees. Near Omakau, Central Otago, NZ


As winter spreads its icy fingers across the landscape, it unveils a realm of ethereal beauty that awaits the keen eye of a photographer. Capturing the essence of this magical season can be a captivating endeavor, especially when exploring the juxtaposition of fog, hoar frost, and the radiant sun in semi-urban, rural and recreational settings. In this blog post, we embark on a visual journey through the lens of a camera, discovering the unique concepts and techniques that elevate winter photography to an art form.

Hoar frost at Stewart Town, Central Otago, NZ

Embracing the Mystical Fog:

In a semi-urban setting, when the winter fog envelops the surroundings, photography takes on an almost mystical quality. The limited visibility adds an element of intrigue and mystery to familiar landscapes. Compose your shots with leading lines to draw the viewer’s gaze deeper into the foggy abyss, guiding them through the hidden beauty that lurks within. Experiment with monochromatic tones to emphasize the stark contrasts and evoke a hauntingly beautiful mood in your photographs.

Hoar frost and tall night sport lights at sports fields Wanaka

To make the most of this atmospheric phenomenon, consider using a shallow depth of field to create a sense of depth and focus on the immediate subjects that emerge from the mist.

Close up photo of hoar frost on the top of a waratah, Central Otago, NZ.
Close up photo of hoar frost on a leaf sitting on grass

Macro photography can unlock a world of intricate details as the frost crystals form mesmerising patterns on leaves, branches, and other surfaces.

Capturing Hoar Frost’s Delicate Touch:

On frosty mornings, nature gifts us with an exquisite display of hoar frost delicately cloaking every surface. To capture this wondrous phenomenon, venture out early when the frost is at its peak, glistening under the soft light of dawn. Use a tripod to ensure sharpness and stability, and seek out contrasting backgrounds that allow the frost to stand out with stunning clarity. Play with exposure settings to achieve the right balance between the frost’s sparkle and the ambient light, giving your images an enchanting and dreamlike quality.

Hoar frost crystals on a fence with a horse framed by the fence, Central Otago, NZ

Dancing with the Winter Sun:

When the winter sun finally breaks through the shroud of fog, it bathes the world in a warm and golden glow, transforming the landscape into a breathtaking spectacle. The key to capturing this magic lies in understanding how light interacts with the environment during winter. Embrace the golden hour and blue hour, the times just before sunrise and after sunset, to infuse your images with a soft and enchanting light. Leverage long shadows and silhouettes to create dramatic and evocative compositions.

Hoar frost with sun appearing, Cardrona Valley near Wanaka.

Suggested Gear List:

  1. Insulated Jacket and Layers: Invest in a high-quality insulated jacket designed for cold weather. Dress in layers, so you can easily adjust your clothing based on the temperature fluctuations throughout the day.

  2. Warm Hat and Gloves: A good beanie or hat that covers your ears is essential to retain body heat. Additionally, thermal gloves or mittens will keep your hands warm and dexterous while shooting.

  3. Thermal Underwear and Socks: Keep your body and feet warm with thermal underwear and thick, moisture-wicking socks to avoid discomfort from the cold.

  4. Waterproof and Windproof Outerwear: A durable and waterproof outer shell will protect you from snow, rain, and wind. Look for breathable materials to prevent sweat buildup.

  5. Sturdy Winter Boots: Invest in waterproof and insulated boots with good traction to navigate slippery terrain and keep your feet dry and warm.

  6. Hand Warmers: Disposable hand warmers can be a lifesaver in extremely cold conditions. Keep some in your pockets or camera bag for quick warmth.

  7. Dry Bags: Use dry bags or waterproof camera bags to protect your camera gear from snow, rain, and moisture.

  8. Lens Cloth and Cleaning Kit: Cold weather can cause condensation on your lenses, so carry a lens cloth and a cleaning kit to ensure clear and crisp shots.

  9. Tripod Leg Warmers: In extremely cold temperatures, tripod legs can become uncomfortably cold to handle. Tripod leg warmers or foam covers can mitigate this issue.

  10. Extra Batteries: Batteries drain faster in the cold, so carry extra fully charged batteries for your camera and any other battery-powered equipment.

  11. Plastic Bags: Keep a few resealable plastic bags in your gear kit. They can be used to protect your camera in case of sudden snow or rain.

  12. Headlamp or Flashlight: Winter days are shorter, and you might find yourself shooting in low light conditions. A headlamp or flashlight will help you navigate safely.

  13. Snacks and Water: Carry some energy-boosting snacks and a water bottle to stay hydrated and keep your energy levels up during your winter adventures.

  14. Navigation Tools: In remote areas, where GPS might not be reliable, bring a map and compass to navigate effectively.

  15. First Aid Kit: Always carry a basic first aid kit in case of any injuries or emergencies.
  16. Don’t forget to ensure your vehicle is fit for the purpose of winter driving. And be familiar with driving to the conditions.
  17. Tell someone where you will be going and when you expect to return (and don’t forget to advise them you have!). Even better carry a personal locator beacon.

Remember, winter photography can be physically demanding, so taking care of your well-being is crucial. Proper preparation and the right gear will help you focus on capturing stunning winter images without compromising your safety and comfort.


Winter photography in any setting, shrouded in fog and adorned with hoar frost, offers a treasure trove of opportunities for photographers seeking to capture the enchantment of the season. Through careful composition, a mastery of light, and a keen eye for detail, you can elevate your photographs from mere images to captivating works of art that evoke the winter’s mystical charm. So, grab your camera, embrace the elements, and embark on a photo quest to immortalise the fleeting beauty of winter’s embrace.

Hoar frost on willows at the Ophir historic bridge that crosses the Manuherikia River, Central Otago, NZ

What is a stamper battery?

Stamper battery Otago Goldfields

A stamper battery [a row of rock crushing stampers] represents one of many techniques to separate gold from earth and rock. The ratio of gold to dirt/rock is what determines the financial viability of a gold mining operation. Machinery is inevitably employed and has a capital cost as well as a very high maintenance cost: water is usually involved too and steel machinery is not best lubricated by water especially as it has rock particles in suspension in a gold mining operation [I’ll leave it to the reader’s imagination to ponder the downstream effects on water and river quality!].

There are many areas or land in my homeland of Central Otago where what is called the peneplain is exposed by weathering, maybe aided by glaciers having stripped away substantial debris earlier, and also faulting crinkling the surface of the earth thus exposing edges where weathering can occur faster. Anyway you don’t have to rush off to the link below – just to know that rocks in keeping with a high percentage of gold are on the surface or can be mined/transported easily to a battery.


These rocks will typically be much heavier than our greywacke and shists, and they’ve once been part of layers of sediment cooked with pressure under extreme weight and silica has been forced all about. Quartz is also evident, along with “petrified wood”.

Stampers have to be constructed out of material tougher than silica impregnated rocks and crush same, then water is used to transport the crushings through a complicated refining process that leads to a water, gold and rock crushings mix [slurry].

Water was often also brought to the battery to power it, via races and fluming constructed with great effort out of creeks and around hill sides slowly loosing height to the site of the battery. The levels were calculated by using old gin bottles almost full of water [hence the phrase “spirit levels” perhaps].

When at the battery the water flowed onto a wheel thus supplying motion to a shaft on which a number of cams [all offset to ensure balance] would lift and then drop [stamp] very heavy cylinders of steel onto the rocks. The noise is awesome [some enthusiasts have restored one on the West Coast and I’ve been fortunate to see it running briefly]

Diagram courtesy DOC website

This photo shows the curved cams that raise and drop the shafts that have the huge weights at the bottom…
Stamper Battery, Central Otago

This photo shows the wheels and gears that turn the shaft…
Stamper Battery, Central Otago

Here is a further explanation from DOC interpretation boards…
YStamper Battery, Central Otago

Stamper Battery, Central Otago

For me two factors in these operations astound me: how did they get the components on-site? And how did they live [or not live] in the winters!? Keep in mind that it is springtime when water is most abundant – this must surely mean working hard and long hours to have the material ready. Especially in some situations where, the water being temporarily frozen would aid the mining!

The Clutha River Area (inc. Wanaka), Otago, New Zealand

Clutha River near Wanaka. And California Poppies

Upper Clutha River near Albert Town Wanaka. California Poppies in December are a delight!

The Upper Clutha Basin, and the Clutha River.

The Cardrona, Hawea, Makarora and Matukituki rivers all feed into the Clutha Mata-Au (formerly Molyneaux). The longest river in the South Island of New Zealand. Wanaka airport is to the left, and Wanaka township, out of sight to the right.

Hawea Flat, New Zealand aerial photo.

Tangential winter lighting reveals the ancient fluvial processes associated with rivers and streams. And now overlaid by relentless Europeanisation in the name of agriculture.

Paddling the Cromwell Gorge, Clutha River, New Zealand

Paddling the Cromwell Gorge, Clutha River, New Zealand. Circa 1985.

This wild river was no more when Lake Dunstan was formed, beginning in April 1992. It is a man-made lake and reservoir and was formed on the Clutha River as a result of the construction of the Clyde Dam.

A year of photography – 2019

Autumn at Glendhu Bay, Wanaka, New Zealand

There were various reasons for lots of local NZ travel in 2019, and fortunately I had the time often to not rush trips across the likes of Central Otago, e.g. Wanaka to Dunedin and return.

The images below are very roughly in chronological order, but being lots of them I’ve uploaded with speed in mind – life in 2020 is nice and full, and sitting at a keyboard is best kept to a minimum. Enjoy!

Silver Peaks, Dunedin
Silver Peaks range behind Dunedin on a day tramp in the damp, which helps engender a sense of mystery
Sheep on a Southland Road
On various days I’d help an old friend Wayne survey road upgrades in Southland, and so I got to see lots more of rural NZ than I knew existed, as usually the surfaces that needed to be marked out for upgrades were on anything but main roads.

These were long days with lots of water needed to keep hydrated.
Cook Strait looking back at the South Island
An evening on Cook Strait heading to Wellington on a roadie with an old and dear friend. This is looking back at the South Island
Rowing on Wellington harbour
Wellington harbour
A relocated railway station in Central Otago now serving as a musterer's farming hut
A relocated railway station in Central Otago now serving as a musterer’s farming hut. Bordering the Oteake Conservation Area
Lan Yuan, Dunedin Chinese Garden
Lan Yuan, Dunedin Chinese Garden, in Dunedin. The garden commemorates the contribution of Chinese people to the history and culture of the city.

I met my cousin and husband down there so it was a delightful family outing looking at some strong history, with them both and my son
On the Rock and Pillar Range looking west
A side trip and camp out in my Land Cruiser camper, to altitude on the Rock and Pillar Range – the last of the block mountains between the Cardrona Valley, Wanaka and Dunedin. A very windy area.
Camping on the Rock and Pillar Range
Luxury with a cold beer out of the vehicle fridge, on the Rock and Pillar Range watching the sunset.

It got very windy in the wee hours though, and despite turning the truck around so it faced into the wind, to get a good sleep I drove a few km and parked up in a gully out of it, and woke to heavy rain.
And when needing a bathroom
old gold diggings on the Hawkdun Range, Oteake Conservation Area
Another evening camp out – this time at old gold diggings on the Hawkdun Range, Oteake Conservation Area.

I’d climbed up to here in very cold winds to get some photos, and then descended in the dark back to my welcome little mountain hut on wheels, aka Cafe Toyota.

Mt Aspiring in the background
Lower Rock and Pillar Range
Lower Rock and Pillar Range – Butterfly country once experienced and now imagined
awning on Land Cruiser. camper
My new awning on the camper – should have made one years ago for the simple reason that in rain the end of the bed would get wet.

Note no poles and my 100 year old industrial sewing machine got an airing
Sunset from the Hawkduns
Sunset from the Hawkduns.

Just myself, my three legged tripod and some nearby cattle to enjoy a perfect evening while on my way to Dunedin
The now empty Cadburys chocolate factory in Dunedin
The now empty Cadburys chocolate factory in Dunedin.

Site of a new hospital coming up.
Classic car in Wanaka
During the year I finished off a new tire related web site in Wanaka, and so was delighted one day to spot this beauty outside the new building
Frog at Glendhu Bay, Wanaka
Best image from a sunset photoshoot at Glendhu Bay, Wanaka
University of Otago clock tower
University of Otago where my son has studied for several years. A truly beautiful campus
Christchurch cathedral statue
I had to visit Christchurch a few times during the year and since I’d never seen the city post earthquake I predictably ended up visiting the Cathedral ruins in the Square
Christchurch public toilets near the Square at night
Christchurch public toilets near the Square at night
Christchurch Art Gallery
Christchurch Public Art Gallery
Historic gold reserve cottage at Macraes Otago
Historic gold reserve at Macraes Otago
Luna Light Festival fairies - midwinter, Queenstown
Luna Light Festival fairies – midwinter, Queenstown
The smog of winter in the Manuherikia River Valley, Central Otago
The smog of winter in the Manuherikia River Valley, Central Otago
Mt Tutoko, Fiordland National Park
Mt Tutoko, Fiordland National Park – photo from the jet service into Queenstown from CHC
Wintery tarn and Hawkdun Mountains, Oteake Conservation Park
Wintery tarn and Hawkdun Mountains, Oteake Conservation Park, on the edge of the Maniototo
World Loppet Merino Muster race 2019
The front runners at the annual World Loppet Merino Muster race, the Snow Farm, Cardrona Valley, Wanaka.

These world class athletes on cross country skis are well into their 42 km race, and typically average speeds of up to 22kph over that distance
native kaka at Orokonui Sanctuary near Dunedin
During the year I was appointed onto the Otago Conservation Board where we represent the public and advise the Dept of Conservation on select matters and strategic decision making.

As such I get to do field trips, and here is a native kaka at Orokonui Sanctuary near Dunedin.
Young lovers in the sunset, near the mouth of the Catlins River, Coastal Otago
My son and girlfriend near the mouth of the Catlins River, Coastal Otago.

I had a large print done for him of this image as a Christmas present, and it was well received.
Nevis Valley gold dredge pond tree
Yet another visit to a certain tree in the Nevis Valley – it’s my photo nemesis I think: satisfaction eludes me capturing the cold emotion of this old historic gold dredging pond, but I’m getting closer.

This visit represented the coldest I’d been in 2019.
Nevis Valley gold miners cottage
Nevis Valley gold miners cottage
Lake Hawea from a day trip up Isthmus Peak
Lake Hawea from a day trip up Isthmus Peak
Otago Conservation Board field trip Matukituki Valley 2019
Otago Conservation Board field trip Matukituki Valley – me on the right
Proposed conservation land on Glenaray Station
Proposed conservation land on Glenaray Station Otago/Southland. An inspection visit by helicopter pre submission.

One huge area – one hour flying only covered a fifth of the farm.
Lake Wanaka flood Dec 2019.
Lake Wanaka flood Dec 2019.

Last event 1999, and thankfully this one stopped short of the shops, just!
Glendhu Bay autumn ripples
My favourite capture for the year – there I was all set up at Glendhu Bay for a more sedate shot and a jet ski came by causing some ripples I did not think I’d benefit from, however they made for something much better.
Dunedin Gardens rose
Wishing you all the very best for you and yours for 2020 – may you always have time to smell the roses

Exploring the Rock and Pillar Range in Central Otago

Rock and Pillar Range, Central Otago NZ

I’ve often wondered how this area got it’s name because to me it’s all about wind up on the tops, but then again I’ve not yet seen it’s full extent, especially the northern end around the historic [skiing] Big Hut area.

Recently though I’ve been poking my nose into the southern end, and it’s been enjoyable, despite being chased away by wind recently at about 3am – even after being parked into the gale the noise and rocking made sleep impossible, but that’s another story.

The ascent up from Styx Creek – I call this beautiful place Butterfly Rock…
Rock and Pillar Range, Central Otago NZ

This is another much larger tor higher up – a bit too high for butterflies
Rock and Pillar Range, Central Otago NZ

The view to the south…
Rock and Pillar Range, Central Otago NZ

The view to the north…
Rock and Pillar Range, Central Otago NZ

I used my 4wd Land Cruiser camper to get up aways to these high spots [google satellite map link], but on encountering a boggy patch and being alone I parked up and climbed on foot up to the left of this very large outcrop, then circled it and came down on the right. It was pretty chilly, so I “called it a day”, and descended, then spent sometime looking for a flat camping spot near where I’d parked, but everything was too steep, so I drove down to my favourite place…Tor, Rock and Pillar Range, Central Otago NZ

Rock and Pillar Range, Central Otago NZ

A well earned cold beer and a sunset…Camping, Rock and Pillar Range, Central Otago NZ

This used to be the Great Moss Swamp, but it was dammed for irrigation in the early 1980’s. Quite a tragedy by today’s reckoning, as it was the largest alpine wetland in the southern hemisphere. Now it’s called the Loganburn Reservoir…Rock and Pillar Range, Central Otago NZ

My favourite camping spot at 1006 m above worry level – I call this spot yogi butterfly rock. But don’t be fooled – this is where the wind can be wild and free…Rock and Pillar Range, Central Otago NZ

Dawn…Rock and Pillar Range, Central Otago NZ

I “found” this a bit by accident while exploring the reservoir’s dam – they’re very private and even sheltered, but you’d best hurry if it’s raining! The crib, or bach as they’re known here is for those prone to fishing for introduced brown trout. The question is posed though: Ladies, gents and ?  Toilets, Rock and Pillar Range, Central Otago NZ

The rocks in the area were used as fence posts in the early days…Fence Post, Rock and Pillar Range, Central Otago NZ

This photo was made on my last trip 2-3 weeks ago. The evening started out quite nice, but the ominous clouds heralded some very strong winds, and arrived at 3am, forcing me to move to a more sheltered location 7 km away…Rock and Pillar Range, Central Otago, NZ

Again from 2-3 weeks ago – the road heading north.. Many of the black and white photos above were made on the high point in the distance…

Some alternative views of historic Old Cromwell Town, Central Otago

There are countless references all over the Internet to this old area of Cromwell, Central Otago, so I won’t duplicate describing what it is all about, except to say that most of the old buildings, and sites of, were submerged when Lake Dunstan was filled. The buildings below, above the lake water level, then became the basis of an historic precinct, much visited by tourists and also host to a regular Sunday Market.

This cafe was closed when the photo was made, but they do make a great coffee, and give great service. To the right is the ever popular art cooperative, Hullabaloo Art Space. To the left is an ally way leading to the Marie Velenski’s little craft and art shop, which is the focus of the next few photos below…
Cromwell jolly squared

The ally way...
Historic buildings, Cromwell

Marie Velenski’s craft shop…
Marie Velenski's craft shop, Cromwell

Marie, with some of her art work…
Marie Velenski in her craft shop, Old Cromwell Town, Central Otago

A colourful quince tree that Marie takes care of…
Quince tree in autumn in Old Cromwell

The view in the other direction from Marie’s doorway. On the taking of this image by-the-way, I did not see the slight female figure in the doorway. It is probably not a ghost, but I find it disconcerting that it showed up, for me at image processing time…
Scots Bake House, Old historic Cromwell Town

Nearby there is a blacksmith building that has been recreated…
Blacksmith model Old Cromwell Town, historic precinct

Blacksmith model Old Cromwell Town, historic precinct

Lastly, a nice wall I discovered nearby, quite close to a derelict building which is the subject of the featured image above…
Autumn colors and wall in Old historic Cromwell Town

The Young Australian Waterwheel

Young Australian Waterwheel, Central Otago

When gold was discovered in Bannockburn near Cromwell in 1862 it was not soon before enterprising miners climbed higher up the Carrick Range behind the alluvial workings, to look for the quartz reefs that fed the terraces below, that are now sluiced away.

By 1876, based on good returns and the knowledge that more water would soon be available to drive the stampers by waterwheel, there were soon five batteries in these higher areas. However the reef then petered out gradually and mining had ceased by 1898.

The restored wheel, the second largest in the Southern Hemisphere apparently [the largest being the Old Mill Wheel in Oamaru], now stands alone, as the stamper battery it was driving was moved across the valley, where it still sits today reasonably well preserved, and relatively difficult of access.

Young Australian waterwheel on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


Young Australian waterwheel on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


Clever use by the miners of long ago of an existing rock…
Young Australian waterwheel accommodation on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


Young Australian waterwheel on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


Young Australian waterwheel on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


Young Australian waterwheel on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


Young Australian waterwheel on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


Lake Dunstan and Cromwell from the saddle above the gully where the waterwheel sits...
Cromwell from the Carrick Range, Central Otago


Looking back at the crest of the Carrick Range. A 4wd road from Duffers Saddle on the left, can just be seen…
The Carrick Range, Central Otago


The water race that turned the waterwheel is still in use today for irrigation. The damaged fluming in this photo once directed water from it down the steep Adams Gully to the right where there are remains of the 5 stamper battery as mentioned above…
The Carrick Range water race, Central Otago


The Adams Gully stamper and gold processing plant remains. Note the fluming as mentioned above, up the gully…
Adams Gully stamper battery on the Carrick Range, Central Otago

To access the waterwheel: there are quite a few web sites hosted by various organisations that list directions – just Google “Carrick Range waterwheel”. Most of them list two ways: climb up from Bannockburn on foot, bike or 4wd, or drive to the top of nearby Duffers Saddle and then walk, bike or 4wd along and down to the site. The former I’d not recommend, and it’s certainly not a track for a soft 4wd such as a Subaru or Rav


The largest waterwheel in the Southern Hemisphere, the Old Mill Wheel in Oamaru under restoration as of Oct. 2017. This wheel weighs in at 50 ton, which would probably make the Young Australian about 35…
Oamaru Old Mill Waterwheel restoration


What is a stamper battery >>

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