Big River Track

Victoria Forest Park

  • 3 hr 30 min one way
  • Easy/medium

Following the line of the old road from Waiuta to Big River, this is an easy forest walk between goldmining ghost towns.

Forest • By matthew. Licence: C.
Big River Track: Key information
Walking time
1 day
3 hr 30 min
Distance
11.7km
Type
One way
One way
Grade
Easy/medium
Bookings
No bookings — open access
No — open access
Big River Track: Find it
Starts
Signposted car park, Pro Road, Waiuta
()
Ends
Big River Hut
Maps
NZTopo50-BT21
Altitude
480m – 756m
Altitude change 276m

The old benched track from Waiuta to Big River is easy forest walking, past the Big River South and St George Mines. The track leads you easily to Big River, once the site of a mining town. From here, you can spend anywhere from a morning to an entire day exploring the mining relics. Return the way you came or connect exit out to Inangahua Swingbridge or via the 4WD road.

Pakihi near Big River Hut • By matthew. Licence: C.

From SH7 west of Reefton, turn onto the Waiuta Road. Drive through Blackwater to the old town of Waiuta itself. Pro Road is signposted off to the left. Follow Pro Road for about a kilometre before coming to the car park and information shelter. The Big River Track starts here.

The vehicle track climbs gently through scrub before a marked foot track bends off to the left. This track sidles through forest high above the Snowy River, passing the odd pit or shallow dig into the hillside. After 90 minutes or so, the track crosses a gentle ridge and drops down a mossy gully toward Sunderland Creek and the Saint George Mine site. Little remains here but some earthworks. 

The Big River South Mine site is also marked nearby but it's either hard to find or there's not much to see. 

From Sunderland Creek, the track climbs onto a plateau of toatoa, mānuka, snowberries, and rātā. This soon becomes open scrub and boardwalked bogland. The views open up, and you can see across the valley to Big River Mine and its poppet head. Follow the track easily down to Big River Hut, with a turn off to the dam site just before the hut.

Big River Hut is well situated on a hill overlooking the old town site. Below is the delapidated Rooney's Cottage, several old cyanide tanks, and the stamper battery. Soils near the town site are contaminated.

From Big River, a 2-hour return walk will take you to the Big River Dam site. A second 2-hour return walk leads past Tin Town to the restored steam winder shed and on up to the poppet head at the top of Big River Mine. This mine reaches a depth of 602 metres.  

Walking times:

  • Pro Road to Big River South Mine signpost: 2 -2.5 hours 
  • Big River South Mine signpost to Big River Hut: 1-1.5 hours
Map
ID 16911

About this track

Added 13 June 2019 by matthewmatthew. 2 revisions, most recently 19 June 2019 by matthewmatthew.
89 views in the past year (7 per month).