A-Z of NZ Locations, The Motorhoming Years

A-Z of NZ Locations – Earnscleugh

In my series of A-Z of NZ Locations, I will take you for a meander around areas that are unique gems, some yet to be polished though worth a visit for either historical reasons, culinary delights or for the sheer vistas.

We are dipping back into Central Otago and slightly west to a small rural settlement with more straight roads and easier to navigate than the windy, narrow roads experienced in the Catlin region.

My focus is Earnscleugh Road. During our motorhome years, it was a place we usually parked for a few days. The Park over Property was owned by a fellow motorhomer called Val, who gathered us motorhome enthusiasts together for a regular happy hour like a mother duck would do with her ducklings.

Situated alongside the Earnscleugh River in the Central Otago District, in the Otago region. Which happens to be the hottest, driest, and coldest region in New Zealand. Because of those extremes, Central Otago is a popular destination for various reasons, from wine tasting to extreme sports and something in between. Snow flurries during December weren’t unheard of when staying in this area.

Our motorhome and toad are to the right.

Earnscleugh Tailings Track

As I enjoyed longer walks, I ventured off to glimpse a part of the gold rush era just down the road. The tailings on this walk are nationally significant and the only complete record of dredging activity from 1863 to 1963. They’re awe-inspiring, hundreds of metres wide like a giant’s ploughed field.

Now a walkway to use your imagination to what it would’ve been like back in the gold mining years.

By 1900 Otago’s rivers were crowded with hundreds of dredges scouring the riverbeds for gold. In the 1930s, the few remaining dredges grew to immense size. They resembled giant floating factories with massive elevators dumping the residue rock high on the river flats.

The Alexandra dredge, which worked the Earnscleugh Flat until 1962, weighed 1000 tonnes and produced the sea of tailings seen today. The sequence of tailings in the Earnscleugh historical reserve is the only surviving set that tells the story of gold dredging from the 1860s to the 1960s.

Remnants of the gold rush

Earnscleugh Church

Earnscleugh Presbyterian Church opened in 1931

Como Villa Estate Winery

The building with the outdoor bathroom to the left entrance to the right

Does anyone ever go to a winery just to experience the building it is housed in?

Yes, you guessed correctly.

The outdoor bathroom

My trusty camera captured the uniqueness of the place while the Squire partook in the samplings. Both of us were satisfied. Como Villa Estate specialises in high-quality wines and is situated only 3 km from Alexandra on Earnscleugh Road.

Situated on a barren landscape

The property has unique historical value, having had a vineyard before the turn of the century. The restored house was built in 1865, so our wine tasters walk back in time, over 130 years. Villa is a museum of old artefacts found on the property or purchased to suit actual old times.

Next time, we head up, not too far up, the Motu [the Island] to visit another small town.

19 thoughts on “A-Z of NZ Locations – Earnscleugh”

  1. What a fascinating place to wander!

    Though it looks a little different, historically and climactically, it seems to be similar to where I live. Not Monte Vista in particular, but a few miles up the road old gold mines, tailings, archaic machines and a mining town where the mining stopped not that long ago. It became a kind of dangerous place with an open pit mine, but the government stepped in and began cleaning it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, Martha it is similar to your area as the Central Otago area is very barren in parts due to the extreme weather conditions. Dramatic scenery to visit though not a place I would love to live as it’s too far from the ocean. I am a beach girl.
      Pleased to hear that the government cleaned up the mining area, I can imagine it would’ve been very dangerous for various reasons. Mining is a very emotive subject for many people.

      Liked by 1 person

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