Town born from Gold – Ross

Historic Miners Cottage Ross

Ross is a town born from gold – from the West Coast gold rush of the 1860s. Ross is most famous in NZ for being the home where New Zealand’s largest ever gold nugget was found – known fondly as the “Roddy Nugget”, it weighed a hefty 3.1kgs.

historic water wheel ross goldfields town

sluicing gear ross goldfields town

It was the choice of destination for our latest adventure. South of Greymouth we had about a one hour drive to get there – lovely drive following the coastline. Parking behind the Ross Goldfield Information Centre and Museum we began our walk. Pretty easy one this time round, following the old water race and coming out at the old historic cemetery. Starting at the Historic Ross Goldfields village round past the alluvial lake with some information boards and relics explaining the art of the water wheel and sluicing, the track then climbs gradually up through the native bush meandering up and around with the water race.

Following Ross water race track

viaduct remnants ross water race track

Ross water race track

You can see where the old viaducts used to be. There is minimal signage on this side until you come to the old miners hut in the bush. This is fantastic – possibly an inspiration for some of our original back country huts!

historic miners hut Ross water race track

The trail slowly meanders down and then enters into the historic Ross cemetery – perched high on the hill and affording fantastic views over the township and out to the Tasman Sea. We love visiting old cemeteries – they are both interesting, sad and serene all at the same time.

headstones historic Ross cemetery

views from Ross Cemetery

historic Ross cemetery

Stephen wanders around for quite some time taking photos. I take a seat….. lunch time and am watched with much hope by the dogs.

enjoying lunch historic Ross cemetery

Time to continue back to the car. A bit more bush track before we come out on the back streets of the town of Ross. Some wonderful old buildings back here and then another short bush walk that leads to the Goldfields Historic Village and car park again. Just two buildings here in the village – a beautifully restored miners cottage and a gaol. Great examples of yesteryear both inside and out.

Goldfields village Ross

historic miners cottage interior ross

Before heading home we decide to see if we can find access to the beach. For us Ross is a town we often pass through but don’t often have the opportunity or time to stop. We’ve seen the sign for beach – or at least a road sign “beach road” so assume it heads to the beach. Given that we could see the sea from the cemetery we knew it couldn’t be far away. Turns out it isn’t. Gorgeous beach – really sandy and lots of sand dunes. Reasonably high tide but we still have a short wander and the dogs get to have a decent run free from the confines of our controlled bush walk. I know we’re not supposed to project our thoughts into what our animals might be thinking but in this case I’m sure going by the looks on their faces they would be saying “wahoo, feel that sand in your toes – oooohhh lovely!” – or something like that.

Ross beach

Home time but we’ll be back sometime soon to spend some quality time exploring the beach – we see a headland to the south that definitely requires further investigation…… watch this space…….

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. Together with their faithful companions Nico and Ziggy they enjoy getting out and about and exploring the wonders that help make up The West Coast of The Southern Alps. Come join them on their next adventure.


About coastingnz

Jan and Stephen live on the Punakaiki coastline, north of Greymouth on the West Coast, NZ and run Breakers Boutique Accommodation. They both enjoy the outdoors and are passionate about things to see and do on the West Coast and would like to share their experiences with you.
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4 Responses to Town born from Gold – Ross

  1. bulldog says:

    I must firstly ask, do you know what a nugget weighing 3.1 kilograms would be worth today??
    3.1 kg = 109.349 ounces… gold price today $ 1 572.27/ ounce = $ 171 926.15… this converts to NZD 196 404.31 and ZAR 1 845 764.76 (our money)… now that is far more than poor old Roddy got I’m sure… damn interesting though… I wonder if that is not the biggest nugget ever found in the world?… no it wasn’t a search shows one found in Australia to be the biggest a whole 2520 ounces.. (71 kilograms, oh how I wish I could find one of those)… This is one of the most interesting places I’m sure to visit, I love these old places like our Pilgrims Rest where gold mining was the reason for the town which still has so many old historic buildings in their original state… and the grave yard with the robber’s whose grave direction is 90 degrees different to all the others… man I can feel the history when I visit these places….
    But how did you go on this trip without the stop at the bakery????
    Stephen once more what great photos you take…

    • coastingnz says:

      We love exploring history too Rob – and there is so much of it here on the West Coast. It was what the Coast was founded on. Thanks for your calculations on the nugget – I’d be happy to find anything LOL As for the bakery – not this trip. Was super organised and made our own lunch – inspired from our favourite bakery in Reefton though!

  2. Sue Carson says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your photos and story about your trip to Ross – my great grandparents and great great grandparents are from Ross and some are buried at the pretty cemetery so really appreciated your photos. Thank you

    • coastingnz says:

      Lovely to get your message Sue and pleased to share our experiences and photos. We enjoy getting out and exploring the West Coast and discovering our history and if it helps others with memories too then that is all the better.

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