Croesus Battery which crushed gold-bearing quartz

Image: Shellie Evans | ©


Long after its gold mines closed and the last hotel burned down, Lyell retains many reminders of a rich past which can be seen while exploring the surrounding area.

Track overview

320 m - 2 km

Walking and tramping

10 min - 45 min Easiest: Short walk
Easy: Walking track

Dog access

No dogs

About this track


The two walks in the area include a short stroll around the historic Lyell Cemetery and a 2 km walk to the Croesus Battery.

Lyell Cemetery

Time: 10 min
Distance: 320 m

Leaving from the campsite, the track passes the former Catholic Church site and enters native beech forest clinging to a steep hillside and leads on to one of the more picturesque goldfield cemeteries.  Surviving headstones, some in iron-fenced plots with large trees growing out of them, tell stories of short lives and tragic deaths.  Between 30 and 40 people were buried here from 1880 to 1900.

Another ten minutes on you will come to Maori Bar, the site of the first gold strike in 1862. There is a tunnel which later miners drove through solid rock to dewater the creek bed for easier mining.

Cross the creek at the junction to the Old Ghost Road and continue on to the Croesus Battery. 

Croesus Battery

Time: 45 min
Distance: 2 km

From the junction, look out for a reef of "hungry" (non-auriferous) quartz which appears in the track side cutting.  From there it is 600 m to a point overlooking the old battery, reached via a track and steps.  Also on the creekside site is a berdan dish, which revolved to crush quartz using heavy steel balls, and relics of an unusual turbine which drove all the machinery.

Getting there

The track begins at the Lyell Conservation campsite near the former Lyell town site, 15 km north east from Inangahua Junction and 35 km south from Murchison on State Highway 6 in the Upper Buller Gorge.

History and culture

Lyell retains many reminders of a rich past which can be seen while walking up to the Croesus Battery and around the cemetery.

Protect this heritage site and leave artifacts where you find them to allow future generations to experience what life was like for those hardy pioneers.

Know before you go

Remain on the main tracks. Decades of prospecting and mining have made the countryside unsafe with deep shafts concealed in the undergrowth. Suitable footwear and clothing is recommended along with insect repellant when lingering at the interpretative panels along the way.

Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven't returned. To do this, use the New Zealand Outdoors Intentions process on the AdventureSmart website. It is endorsed by New Zealand's search and rescue agencies and provides three simple options to tell someone you trust the details about your trip.


Kawatiri / Westport Office
Phone:   +64 3 788 8008
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   Russell Street
Westport 7825
Postal Address:   PO Box 357
Westport 7866
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