Rahui – Nile River
Rahui – Nile River
2 km (30 minutes)
100% Grade 2 – Easy
Mobile coverage: Average
Dogs: Not Permitted
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Nile River – Charleston
Rahui - Intro
The Southern end of the Nine Mile Beach was the site of the Shetlander’s gold mining settlement of Rahui. From the beach, riders climb up Parson’s Hill and then descend down to Little Beach. Following Beach Road, the Trail will continue along near the shoreline until near the mouth of the Nile River. Entering the small river gorge the Trail passes through stunning scenery until reaching the suspension bridge over the river.
Following the riverbank, riders head south quietly towards the Nile River. The unique and captivating landscape along this section also features black iron rich taipū (sand dunes).
The Southern end of the Nine Mile Beach was the site of the Shetlander’s gold mining settlement of Rahui. The beach and adjacent dune sand deposits feature substantial amounts of dark grey – black Ilmenite. Ilmenite (Iron Titanium Oxide) is the most important ore of Titanium. Associated with Ilmenite are other heavy minerals including garnet and gold.
In 1870 the gold attracted the attention of some miners from the Shetland Islands located north of the Scottish mainland. With good mining results, the Sheltlanders soon established a sizeable settlement and continued mining for about 40 years. Their blacksanding operations required building substantial wooden flumes to bring water from inland. Remnants of these structures can still be seen on the beach today.
The Powell family took over the area in about 1910, and continued to mine the black sand for almost 50 years, using innovative methods for the time.
From Rahui the beach route led over a small hill, now known as Parson’s Hill, and down to Little Beach. At the Northern end of the beach was the Welcome Inn, a favourite stop along the route at the time. The far point of Parson’s Hill is renowned for good fishing. Keep an eye out for the racetrack heading up the hill which dates back to the 1870’s.
During the late 1800’s, James Parson was landlord of the Welcome Inn. Parson walked from Charleston to Greymouth to collect his boat, sailing it single-handedly back to Constant Bay. Here he engaged it to unload passengers and freight from early ships brave enough to enter this dangerous anchorage.
Following the beach, the Trail continues along near the shoreline until near the mouth of the Nile River. Entering the small river gorge the Trail passes through some stunning scenery until reaching the suspension bridge over the river.
Black iron rich taipū (sand dunes)
Expansive Nine-Mile Beach
Blue Penguin and Sooty Shearwater breeding areas
Blue, Black & Little Shag
White-Fronted & Caspian Tern
New Zealand Falcon
Makawhiti (Yelloweye Mullet)