Bearded Miners & Biking in Westport – Day 101
Reefton’s Bearded Miners and the Road to Westport
Toady we are visiting the Bearded Miners of Reefton before hitting the road through the stunning Buller Gorge to Westport where we are doing some mountain biking.
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Today we are leaving the Old Breadshop Backpackers in Reefton and gonna check out one more thing before we actually leave the town. Reefton has this big gold mining history and what better to talk about this history with than some bearded miners. Obviously.
It’s Day 101 of our 365 Days of 365 Activities and today’s priority is the Bearded Miners. And what a priority it is. The bearded Miners are situated in Reefton and it’s a place where you can learn more about gold mining history of the area in a really unique way.
It only costs a few gold coins donations for us to spend up to half an hour with one of the Bearded Miners. They are not comedians or actors, those guys are actual miners who used to spend their time in the mine shafts in the area. They have heaps of souvenirs that they gathered during their mining time Including gold nuggets and heaps of jewels. it’s really awesome and they have a real insight in what used to happen back in the day. Our bearded miner is showing us heaps of stuff that we’ve never seen before including gold, exactly as it is found in the wild in a mine. I have never seen that before. We also see vials of sapphire and even fool’s gold which used to trick miners back in the days and people thought oh my Gosh I just found heaps of gold and that was just not gold. He’s also explaining us how the extract those minerals and how they detect to find there is more of them. It’s fascinating it’s a whole industry that Laura and I never knew anything about. this really is an example of raw New Zealand history as if it was alive today. Talking with the guy who has spent decades in the mines is a really cool and original way to learn about this industry. And now he is teaching us the art of gold panning which is actually a lot harder than it looks. There’s a lot of skills, a lot of techniques, and a lot of patience when it comes for panning for a very little amount of gold. We can barely see the speck of gold that he managed to pan for after about 20 minutes of panning.
Our time with Mr Bearded Miner has come to an end and we can’t leave Reefton without having one last hot chocolate and coffee from that coffee shop that we showed you yesterday on Broadway. And then we are going to be hitting the road towards Westport. And the road that’s going to take us from Reefton to Westport is going through the mesmerisingly beautiful Buller Gorge. They are absolutely stunning towering thick bushy mountains bathing in a massive wide river. It’s absolutely amazing. I love this drive if you can’t tell by the tone of my voice.
And soon enough we arrive to the lovely township of Westport. This town right on the coast is one of the most iconic spots in the West Coast. It’s really well known for it’s surf but soon enough as soon as we check in in the Bazils Hostel where we’re going to be staying for our Westport exploration, we learn that it’s also awesome spot to mountain bike. So our hosts there give us some mountain bikes and send us on our way because we still have some daylight and they want to keep us busy.
We’re hitting the Kawatiri Bike Trails which is a whole network of mountain biking trails going through forest and lining the North Beach of Westport. Most of the trails here at the Kawatiri Beach reserve are super well maintained with gravel but somehow we do end up going off course a little bit into the muddy four wheel drive tracks that we have no idea how we got here. We find our way toward the track pretty easily there’s heaps of signs around and it’s very easy make our way back toward where we came from. We are heading back toward the hostel. This was just a quick mountain biking trip, nothing really fancy we just wanted to check out those areas so that we can write about it for you guys on BackpackerGuide.NZ.
We will spend the evening in the hostel chatting with our hosts. They are really super sweet and relaxed people. They’re all about surfing and they’re talking us into joining them for a surf in the next few days so we’re going to keep an eye on the forecast and soon, we will be surfing.
Today’s 101 I can’t believe we’ve already passed the 100 days. I can’t believe I could not believe that on day 99, I could not believe that on day 100 and yet today guess what I can’t believe it either. What?! Crazy right? How things don’t change as said the proverb from Chinese origins.