In the 19th century, New Zealand was hit by a gold rush. Similar to the ones in Australia, the USA and Canada, there were thousands who tried their luck in the search for the gold. In Central Otago is a particularly good place where you can experience the historical gold rush of New Zealand.
Goldfields Mining Center
The Goldfields Mining Center is a museum of the Department of Conservation and is located a few kilometers west of Cromwell. The museum is a truly authentic abode, where large quantities of gold were found in the middle of the 19th century.
You can see first hand how the gold was mined in the early days of the gold rush and under which circumstances the people had to live. The museum is very impressive and absolutely recommendable. At first we were afraid that it could be a tourist trap, but we were absolutely positively surprised!
Our pictures give an impression of how authentic the museum is. Just see for yourself:
The Goldbattery is powered by water and is still functional today. Five powerful steel pistons are set in motion, crushing rocks to dust to release the gold in the stones:
With the Sluice Gun, a powerful water cannon, loose material and even larger boulders could be washed out of the slope:
After the washing, larger stones remained. You can still see the stone heaps everywhere on the museum grounds:
In these tiny huts lived the Chinese who worked on the goldfields after the Europeans had left the area:
After most of the gold was extracted from the surface, gold was also sought underground:
Gold panning in the Goldfields Mining Center
A funny bonus to the open-air museum is the gold panning. The Goldfields Mining Center still has an official license for gold mining. Visitors to the museum can try their hand at gold panning. After a short briefing, you can start right away. But be careful: some still get the gold fever today! We have washed about two hours and could hardly leave :). Our proud prey: 6 tiny gold flakes worth a few cents! But it was so much fun!