Gold Mine Tours
You may be thinking that it’s a cushy ride in a custom built 4x4 tour bus, but on this tour you get so much more than a peek into the world of mining through a glass window.
- Get kitted up and be a miner for the afternoon.
- See the mine in operation and learn about modern gold mining methods.
- See big haul trucks move massive volumes of rock.
- Take in the view out to the pit and over to the Paparoa and Victoria Ranges.
- Drive to the pits edge for a view 100m down into the earths crust.
- Learn about the history of Globe Hill.
- Learn about the environment and sustainable mining.
- See the final product- a gold bearing black sand - before it goes to Macraes Flat Mine.
- And best of all… see what it feels like to literally walk on gold.
Unique tours like this are fairly rare in New Zealand, and as a result we can be pretty popular.
We recommend that you give us a quick call to reserve your place just in case we fill the bus before you arrive.
The Reefton Gold Experience
Reefton is known as 'The Town of Light' and owes its origins to the discovery of rich quartz gold reefs. In 1888, at the height of the gold rush, Reefton turned on electric street lighting before any other town in the Southern Hemisphere. Gold is part of the town's future as well as its past, after re-opening one of its Gold Mines in 2006.
We have set out to offer a trip through Reefton's golden past. Where well over a century ago prospectors, miners and families flocked to strike gold, and coincidentally helped to shape the nation of New Zealand with many pioneering firsts, wealth and values. There are many passionate historians in Reefton who put in hours of voluntary time and finance to record and display over 150 years of history in the region. If you didn't know already, in August 1888 Reefton became the first place in New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere to have a public supply of electricity, even before the fashionable suburbs of London and New York. So as part of tour we can pop in to the local museum and historic sites to show you an extensive collection of memorabilia including the first electric street light in the Southern Hemisphere, a working stamper battery used to crush rock and extract gold and a sizable boulder with a quartz seam - laden with gold inside - just as nature left it
We feel that the history of the region's mining is an important start to the tour, it helps set the scene and also highlights how far we have come with today's mining technology and practices.
"We can give you a quick glimpse of the history at the beginning of our trip up to the mine, however if you want the real deal we recommend you go on our Reefton heritage tour first. We purposely run these tours in the morning, so you can have lunch and then jump aboard the bus for the afternoon’s excursion up to the mine." Ronnie
Lots of Access & Action
At the mine visitors can actually get out of the bus and walk around within the mine site with your guide - something quite rare within a gold mine.
Our guides will drive you round to the edge of the open pit, where you can get out and see enormous machinery, trucks, and if you are lucky the odd blowing up rock to excavate the land. Essentially an entire hill is being relocated to reach a gold seam deep underground. This type of mining is no mean feat, so as you can imagine the view is pretty spectacular and the process is very interesting.
At the top of the Globe gold mine you can see the rugged Paparoa and Victoria Ranges. Your guide will explain the environmental management of the mine and the conservation park.
Then we take you to the processing plant, something few people get the opportunity to do. We explain and you see each stage how the quartz bearing rock is crushed and filtered so the gold can be extracted. The result is a pile of heavy sparkly black dust, which is then sent down to OceanaGold's second mine in Macraes Flat, Central Otago, to be processed and poured into billions of dollars worth of gold bars.
The dust is pretty valuable so no, you can't fill your pockets, however if you are nice... we might let you walk on the gold instead!.
We have invested in a specially customised 20 seater bus. With comfy seats, seat belts, big windows and air conditioning, our 4x4 beast can access most areas of the mine.
We can pick you up from The Broadway Cafe & Bakery and after a drive through Reefton we travel the 20 mins it takes to take you 'up the hill' and up to OceanaGold's mine. The drive itself is an adventure, climbing 200 metres in 4km with great views of the Inangahua valley. This is a private road and we have been granted special access, so no, you cannot just drive up in your car yourself!
We can easily accommodate larger groups on our tours, up to 20 is a good manageable number but we can take groups of up to 30 at a time. This would typically be in our bus and accompanying van/your bus up to the mine carpark and our transport within the mine. The road up to the mine is a good gravelled road, albiet a little steep, so one option for larger groups is to take your own bus up to the gold mine carpark and we'll transport you from there.
What many groups do is split the group into two with half enjoying a look at historic Reefton while the other half travels up to the mine. We offer good prices for combining the historic and gold mine tours for this.
At the tours end we will deliver you safely back to The Broadway Cafe & Bakery where you can enjoy a complimentary coffee and watch a DVD as we wind down and debrief.
Fitness & Access
Although we don't want to exclude anybody, all visitors to the mine site have to be what we can best term as 'physically capable'. It is important that you can walk unaided over sometimes rough and stony ground and are able to climb up and through the processing plant. This is along industrial stairs and walkways up to the height of a two storied building. There are good handrails throughout but people suffering from vertigo or are dubious about heights may have trouble.
Please do talk to us if you have any medical problems or disabilities that may affect your visit to the mine - asthma, difficulty breathing, a pacemaker etc. We'll do our best to help and will advise whether our mine tour is possible for you.
Health & Safety
And now for the serious bit... There is a strict dress code whilst visiting the mine and so to comply with the health and safety protocol, we need you to wear sturdy enclosed walking shoes, long pants to the ankle, and long sleeved tops right down to the wrist.
We will provide the hard hats, safety glasses and hi vis vests. We have your best interests in mind and lets face it - as well as being safe you get to look like a miner for the tours duration. Learn more about the Health and Safety
We have a fact sheet that you can take home with you, and for an extra five bucks you can also take home the OceanaGold DVD. At the same time, you're supporting our community as the five dollars goes straight as a donation to our local movie theatre.
- Hear About Reefton’s social history with a drive through Reefton on the way up to the mine.
- Visit OceanaGold's open pit gold mine.
- Drive through the mine and to the pit edge.
- Climb up and through the processing plant.
- See the gold concentrate being floated off.
- Meet the team
- Learn the technical aspects of the operation