24 January 2018

Hamiltons & Leaving Waipiata

Most of the places we stay Bernie says it's his new favourite place. After we'd been at Waipiata domain for a week, it was time to move on - even though Bernie wasn't so keen. For us, the domain was easy to stay at.
Oodles of space.
Dog friendly.
Great weather.
Loads of places nearby to explore.
And I think the most amount of campers there at one time were five!

The evening before leaving Waipiata, I drove up to Hamiltons. I'd heard about an historical gold mining cemetery with magnificent views across the Maniototo plains. When we visited the old tuberculosis sanatorium a week before we'd driven further along the road to see the Hamiltons but because we didn't have a map we weren't sure how far along the road it would be. We turned around after a couple of kilometres, and it turned out, we had turned back only a few hundred metres short of seeing the sign to the Hamiltons!
Just as the sun was setting, I set off, the golden hour was approaching making it a lovely time of the day for sight seeing. This time it was easy to find.

The Hamilton's township was situated on the northern slopes of the Rock and Pillar range above Patearoa. It was named after Captain Hamilton - the owner of the sheep run where the gold was found in 1863. 

To begin with the gold deposits were rich, providing excellent returns. Near the end of 1863 around 2000 miners worked there, as time passed more hopeful miners arrived until the population peaked at 4000! At one stage the township had 25 hotels and 40 different stores. Unfortunately due to a scarcity of a constant water supply for both gold-mining operations and the community, the Hamilton's township didn't last long. And by the early 1900s there was little evidence left of the town. 

The Hamilton's cemetery has been restored by a local group, the 'Friends of  Hamiltons', and lies behind a stone wall. The cemetery commemorates many pioneers of Hamilton's community and records the hardships and tragedies that occurred.

A memorial plaque recording the names of those that are buried there.

I didn't stay long - it's probably silly, but I felt as though I was intruding not knowing anyone who had been laid to rest there.

It was only 10kms back to Waipiata so I was home in no time. There was very little packing up that needed to be done for our departure the next morning.

Our plan was to call into Ranfurly to fill up with water and empty the tanks - our destination was Butchers Dam, 10kms south of Alexandra.

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