Wednesday, January 16, 2013

out of Greymouth into the mines

Here is the map for the day's activities:

The TB summary gives us the overview of the day:
12/15: Bkfst @ Ashley Hotel. Brunner mine site tour (1896 disaster). Black’s Point mine / memorabilia tour w/ Graham (++). Tea & biscuits @ Old Beards Tea Room (felt like we’d time traveled to the Hat Creek Ranch in Lonesome Dove!). Walking tour of Reefton w/ Paul. Catered lunch at Odd Fellows Hall w/ Paul (suitably odd). Scenic drive (+) along Buller River to Cape Foulwind. short (~2 mi) walk along Cape Foulwind Walkway (++). Scenic drive down West Coast to Punakaiki Rocks & Blowholes; short but impressive hike there. Dinner at leisure w/ Tor & PF at Jones’s Café in Greymouth.
So off we go this morning- with our first stop not too far out of Greymouth- at the site of the Brunner Mine disaster the largest mining disaster in the NZ history.  The site has some nice exhibits and a serenity it never had when it was a working mine.  it covers both sides of the river and has an historical walk.

from there we head out to Reefton- the first electrified town in NZ -which is also a mining town and the electricity was a round about by product of the mining operations.


they made tea and scones with Manuka honey in the tea and syrup and jam on the scones- and actually having been made over an open fire in each case- the tea break we had with them was pretty darn good- I managed to down a couple of cups of tea and a couple of scones as well.

if you have anything old and rusty - it looks like they will take it here at the Bearded Miners camp- LOL - as we were getting ready to leave I asked the one miner for a photo and I think it turned out quite nicely- he had evidently been burned and his face especially near his eye was a bit disfigured-  maybe that is how he ended up with the job of making tea for the tourists...

oh and to back track a bit- I took this photo across from the Brunner Mine site- and I wondered if the ferns had adapted to this incredible panoply of color because of all the coal dust in the area - back in the day....

 but I was very taken by the colors and so made sure to get this shot as we got back on our bus-

our next stop- still in Reefton is out to the Blacks Point Museum

if you end up ANYWHERE near Reefton- don't miss this gem of a small museum- it has at least one of everything from Reefton's past- we had a guided tour and the guide was extremely knowledgeable so he made the artifacts come alive for us - we also watched a short film in the museum meeting room but is must not have been all that memorable because I have no clue now- a month later- what it was about...LOL

above an adding machine and below a cash register with pounds and shillings and pence! followed by a typewriter with separate capitals and lower case keys!

books on all kinds of subjects- including one for PSF- LOL

and area featuring a suffragette- first country for woman's voting rights - NZ!

the elusive kiwi stuffed and mounted for our edification- LOL

what a treasure trove it was! I am sure we missed half of what was in this place and hours more could have been whiled away finding more incredible and fascinating objects from the past... but for us- Mike has a schedule and so off we go to the place where they mined for gold using hydro generated electricity ran the crushing...


so on to the next post- where we return to town for a tour- have lunch in the Odd Fellows Hall and buy socks and gloves made of possum!

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