After doing a couple of excellent walks in Victoria Forest Park (the Klondyke Routes and Mt Haast Route) we took a day off to look around the historic mining town of Reefton. To do so we walked about 2-2.5km into town from our accommodation in the small village of Blacks Point along the Pipeline and Tram Tracks. These made for pleasant walking through mostly native forest with a bit of scrub, with just a short ascent and descent at the start and end. We later did the short Powerhouse Walk, learning about the hydro scheme that powered the southern hemisphere’s first electric street lighting. There’s almost nothing left of this but they are going to build a replica I believe.
In town we stopped at an artists’s collective and gallery, chatting to one of the friendly artists called Tony. Then over the road we chatted with another artist called Princess Hart in her gallery and workshop, an old bank building. Princess is an interesting lady from America who’s been all over the place, but has settled for now in Reefton. She told us various stories and history of the town and even gave us a locally made rhubarb soft drink. We also stopped at the local gin distillery for some not so soft drink. Note also that there is a museum in Black’s Point, that was unfortunately closed on the day we stopped by.
Track notes at the end.
Pipeline & Tram Tracks plus Powerhouse Walk, Reefton: The Scenery
We first walked from Blacks Point Towards Reefton, but in the Google Map below I’ve shown the starting point at the Reefton end, which is just on the edge of town (to the east; it starts on a vehicle track then you turn right onto a walking track at a kind of closed reservoir site). There are maps along the Pipeline Track and Tram Track so you shouldn’t get lost. These tracks connect with some other longer tracks that visit mining sites and scenic places further into the forests.
The Powerhouse Walk can be done as a circuit through town and then back up the Inangahua River, crossing the river on a swing bridge (eastern edge of town near the start of the Pipeline Track) and a road bridge (on the road out of town to the west). It’s all pretty obvious.