I had a plan and a room booked for tonight and it was a drive of about 100km to where I would start a hard and strenuous hike to a glacier
The drive was through rain hard at times and then sun and then grey skies….some sights on the way!!
Lots of one way bridges
Around noon I arrived here
I stopped at the Visitors service centre to check on my intended hike and was informed due to a huge storm two days ago that route and all routes to the glacier were closed!!!
It was starting to rain and even though it was early I decided to check to see if my room was ready and it was…When I booked this yesterday I knew it was a bit top shelf for me but it was the only place available and the room was 90 dollars and I think you will admit a tad nice!!
I decided to relax have some tea turned on the 52 inch TV and guess what????
After the game the rain had stopped and I had found a hike to do and left at 4pm to go here..
Explore the Tartare tunnels.
By Glacier Country
The Tartare Tunnels: Explore the remnants of the Franz Josef Glacier Goldrush
Mr Callery was the first person to find gold near the Franz Josef Glacier, quickly followed by German Harry (Harry Wolmer) in 1868. In his quest to find gold Harry undertook an epic journey from the East Coast climbing over Mounts Mueller and Burster, and finally descending into the Callery Gorge where he collected several ounces of gold. In mountaineering terms this represented a staggering achievement. Even with today’s lightweight equipment it would be no mean feat to accomplish this.
Characters like “Piggery Charlie” and “Wombat Jack” then established their well landscaped claims at the confluence of the Callery and on the Waiho riverbanks.“The Waiho Sluicing Company” was the first commercial enterprise in the area transporting water from the Tatare Gorge to the sluice face at the Waiho River via a 500 metre long tunnel system and 350 metres of water race. Pre-drilled sheets of steel and other materials were landed at Port Okarito and taken by horse drawn cart to be shipped down Lake Mapourika and then taken to the Waiho work site.
The tunnel were blasted through the cliff face high up the Tatare Gorge, “level at first then taking on a slight gradient to allow gravity to feed the pipeline and fluming. “ In 1907 three teams of workers were engaged around the clock. Without the aid of modern measuring equipment they took over a year to dig their way through and when they met the tunnels were within a few centimetres of exact alignment! Unfortunately, the gold recovered from the site did not cover the mining costs and the company closed down in 1908.
Today it is a forty minute walk to the Tatare Tunnels. Take a torch to light your way through the tunnels. You will see the glow worms. Warm socks and sturdy footwear are advised as ankle deep water runs through the tunnel all year round and in some places the tunnel ceiling is low so be sure to mind your head.
You can also see the start of a seventy metre penstock near the tunnel entrance that once led to a hydroelectric power station. The plant originally supplied power to the local sawmill by day and then the Graham Hotel at night.The operation ended when the power station was washed away in a massive flood event in 1982. This is just another example of the forces of nature.
It was a good walk
to the tunnel opening
I changed from my boots to my crocs got out my flashlight and away I went…
In some places the water was almost to my knees and a wee bit cold but made it to the end but there was nothing there to see another tunnel was blocked off so I turned around and came back and would have to add that I am not a huge fan of tunnels like these!!!
It was a good work out and I went into town and bought a meat pie for dinner and came back and ate and then jumped into the swirling waters of the tub!!!!
I did some final planning and booking for this week…This time next week I shall be in Christchurch where I have an airbnb place booked for 6 days before I move into the house sit position I have for three weeks with Tilley the dog!!
Tomorrow I continue my journey north up the west coast!!