By visiting DOC-managed gold mining history sites you can learn about New Zealand's gold mining history that began with the Coromandel rush of 1852.

This theme brings together a group of gold mining sites that began with the small Coromandel rush of 1852, followed by another small rush in 1857 at Aorere in Golden Bay. Then came the big Otago rush of 1861 and ended when Waiuta closed in 1953.

The principal New Zealand goldfields were Coromandel, Nelson/Marlborough, Central Otago and West Coast. The two main types of gold mine were:

  • 'hard rock' quartz mines, and
  • alluvial mining which included panning and cradling, sluicing and dredging.

Considerable prospecting and mining was done during the 1930s depression by people who would otherwise have been unemployed. Many of DOC’s managed historic hut sites date to this era.

DOC has as many as 1000 gold mining sites on lands it manages. The following sites are actively managed and developed for visitors, and represent most of New Zealand's significant gold mining heritage.

Gold mining sites actively managed by DOC are:


  • Oreville Stamper Battery, 1899


  • Lillis Battery, Tokatea Saddle, Coromandel
  • Welcome Jack Battery, 1900 
  • Broken Hills, Puketui, 1890
  • Golden Hills Battery, Puketui, 1910

Bay of Plenty

  • Butlers Incline, 1883
  • Franklin Rd to Bluff Stream Track (Waitawheta), 1907
  • Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway, Ohinamuri River
  • Talisman Battery, Karangahake, 1900
  • Victoria Battery Historic Site, Waikino
  • Waitawheta Gorge Pipeline Track, Cherry & Sons battery, 1900 – mining - gold
  • Woodstock Battery Historic Site, Woodstock Battery, 1887
  • Woodstock G.M.C. ‘Windows’ tunnels, Waitawheta Gorge, 1890
  • Woodstock Underground Pumphouse, Waitawheta Gorge, 1900


  • Boars Head Mine, 1869


  • Baton Miner’s Bridge, 1880
  • Booth’s Cottage, 1933
  • Cecil King’s Hut, 1935
  • Druggans Dam, 1870s
  • Johnston’s United Battery, 1879
  • North Bank Wairau Gold Mines, 1860
  • Ransomes and Sims Engine, 1895
  • Rolling River Goldfield, 1860
  • Waikakaho Goldmines, 1888

West Coast


  • Craigieburn Conservation Park 1880’s, 1902 -1912 and 1933 (NB Urquhart’s Hut was built during this depression scheme)



  • Alpha Battery & Quartz Mine, Preservation Inlet, 1898
  • Anita Bay Stone House, Milford Sound, 1932
  • Golden Site Battery, Preservation Inlet, 1892
  • Martin’s Hut and Race, Longwood Ranges, 1900
  • Morning Star mine and Te Oneroa Township, Preservation Inlet, 1894
  • Piano Flat Water Race, Waikaia, 1895
  • Ports Water Race, Longwood Ranges, 1889
  • Printz’s Mine, Longwood Ranges, 1878
  • Tarawera Smelter & Mine, Preservation Inlet, 1911
  • Turnbull’s Race, Big Dam, and Hut, Longwood Ranges, 1875
  • Waipapa Bucket Dredge Remains, Southland, 1935
  • Wilson River Pack Track, Preservation Inlet, 1892
  • Wilson River Tramway, Preservation Inlet, 1893

Further reading

Keene, Howard. (1995). Going for Gold, The Search for Riches in the Wilberforce Valley. (Department of Conservation, Christchurch).

Smith, Nigel. (2001). Heritage of Industry: discovering New Zealand’s industrial history.  (Reed, Auckland).

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