It may now just be a ghost town but Waiuta oozes charm and intrigue. A historic gold mining town high in the mountains in the Grey Valley sitting upon a plateau with views to die for.
Our latest visit was Christmas Day. We packed a picnic lunch and headed up to relax in the sunshine.
We had thoughts of doing a nice long hike but with glorious sunshine and hot temperatures sitting and reading our books took priority. We did however take a walk around the township.
An easy thing to do – just follow the road. There are no vehicles up here so we can meander along the road at leisure. It isn’t because vehicles aren’t allowed up here it is just that no-one is here today. We’ve practically got the whole place to ourselves.
Waiuta has a lovely feel about it – almost a spiritual feel. I know that sounds weird but everyone we bring up here says the same thing. You immediately feel at peace, any stress just falls away.
There are a sprinkling of old buildings still here from the gold mining boom of the mid 1900’s. A couple of them are used as holiday homes – or baches as we like to call them in NZ. They still belong to the family that lived here originally, passed on for the next generation to enjoy.
Others have fallen into disrepair. It is such a shame seeing these beauties slowly rot away. With NZ being such a young country we need to keep and perserve any history we have so the stories can be told.
One of my favourite books is called “Memoirs of Waiuta”. Written by a local historian Les Wright through interviews with the old timers that lived and grew up in Waiuta. It is a fascinating insight into the way life used to be and makes us look so soft and whimmy when you look at the hardships our forebearers had to endure. I say endure – they didn’t see it as a hardship – in fact many say in the book that they’d rather have grown up in the era that they did than in today’s world. I’m with them there!
Everyday was an adventure – no TV, no internet, just outside exploring and making the most of the surroundings. Waiuta was a prosperus town too with swimming pool, rugby field, hockey field, cricket pitch and even a bowling green – plenty of fun to be had outside.
We love Waiuta and we don’t get up here often enough so it has been great to have a day off, take the journey and relax amongst the memories of a forgotten time. An awesome afternoon at Waiuta – an awesome Christmas afternoon at Waiuta. We’ll be back.
Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. They enjoy getting out and about with their two dogs Nico and Ziggy and exploring the many wonders that help make up this region – West Coast of the Southern Alps.