Charleston – 4 Mile Road
Charleston – 4 Mile Road
8 km (2-3 hours)
100% Grade 2 – Easy
Mobile coverage: Limited
Dogs: Not Permitted
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Westport – Carters Beach
Tauhinu - Intro
Leaving Constant Bay the Trail climbs gently up through the historic goldfields area, straddling the rocky clifftops before heading inland across a wide Pākihi Terrace. Stunning views, amazing wildlife and abundant heritage features make this last Section of the Trail perhaps one of the most momoho (rewarding). Make the most of the area’s glorious beaches, fishing, rock climbing, cave rafting, walks and mountain biking.
Leaving Constant Bay the Trail climbs gently up through the historic goldfields area, straddling the rocky clifftops before heading inland across a wide Pākihi Terrace. Stunning views, amazing wildlife and abundant heritage features make this last section of the Trail perhaps one of the most momoho (rewarding).
At its peak in 1868, during the gold rush, Charleston and the surrounding goldfield had a population of between 8,000 and 12,000. The town boasted 80 hotels, three banks, a library, post office, hospital and fire brigade. There were three schools and three churches alongside a full array of businesses.
By 1878, with over one million ounces of gold extracted from the Charleston Goldfield, the population had plunged to just over 300. Today the sleepy village is rejuvenated with visitors keen to experience what life was like 150 years ago. Make the most of the area’s glorious beaches, fishing, rock climbing, cave rafting, walks and mountain biking.
There is now little sign of mining activity except at Mitchells Gully Gold Mine attraction, where old tunnels and mining machinery can be observed. The mine was expressly designed to extract alluvial gold from the black iron sand. Most stamping batteries are used to crush quartz rock to extract the gold from the rock.
This thrilling Section of Trail retraces old packhorse tracks, water races, goldfields, and the remnants of gold shafts and tunnels on short side walks waiting to be discovered. This mesmerising wilderness is an unbeatable way to experience epic coastal cliffs, Pākihi Terraces, unusual vegetation, fern birds, and an old gold mining reservoir.
A side trip to visit the forest overlooking Deep Creek offers superb views. New Zealand fur seals sometimes make their way up Deep Creek, and encountering these animals in a forest stream setting is an experience never to be forgotten.
Robert Hannah opened his first shoe shop at Charleston in 1866. He eventually became New Zealand’s largest shoe manufacturer and retailer. Rugged West Coast terrain meant shoes and boots constantly needed repair or replacement. Hannah’s continues to be a major nationwide shoe retailer in New Zealand.
Mitchells Gully Gold Mine tourist attraction
Argyle track and dam
Pākihi Terraces – Vegetation unique to the West Coast with its flat boggy land with infertile, waterlogged soil on which only rushes, ferns, moss, and mānuka grow.
Little blue penguins (kororā), Hector’s dolphins, great spotted kiwi, and New Zealand falcons (present but not often seen).