The sun welcomed us into Reefton and after driving down the main street, we parked by the river and went for a walk.
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The I site is amazing as it has a fully set up mine in there. You can hardly see your hand in front of your face but after your eyes adjust, you can see the trolley with a chap behind it. It is all setup to look like the real thing.
There was also a good background on how Reefton got to be the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to have a full power supply.
In 1886, Walter Prince from Dunedin with a generator in tow and showed what could be done, totally dazzling the population of Reefton. Within a few years, they had the whole town up and running.
After wandering around looking at the shops and checking out the river, we came across a Miners Hut and all the related equipment. It was setup by 4 guys (all bearded of course) as volunteers and they take tours through all the bits they have there but they are a wealth of knowledge.
They weren’t there at the time but we found out we could see them the next morning so we parked Rafe at the local motorcamp by the river in the middle of town.
The weather was supposed to really pack a sad with a front coming through so we were pleased to be on gravel. In the end, it never really got much worse than drizzle.
In the morning, we headed back to the miners hut to meet three of the bearded miners. Gavin, Peter and Mark. Unfortunately, there was a fourth miner involved in setting this up too but he recently passed away. They were full of knowledge and very happily lit a lantern or two so I could photograph the inside of the hut. .. magic stuff.
They were waiting on a busload of tourists to arrive when we were there. Lovely to catch up with them and have a good natter and really nice guys who volunteer their time in their retirement to show off the history of Reefton.
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The town just reeks of history and the locals are just charming. Its a town that is often by passed but is well worth checking out.