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The trip from Collingwood to Aorere Valley offers splendid views of rivers and bush. Stay or eat in Collingwood before you set off. Walk to Ballroom Caves, swim at Salisbury Bridge, explore the goldworkings of Kaituna - enjoy.
People who enjoy rambling through historic cemeteries and reading stories of flooks, epidemics, shipwrecks and other trials of early colonial life from the headstones should set aside some time to visit the Old Collingwood Cemetery, whose ornate wrought-iron fences and crumbling gravemakers are scattered on a rocky hillslope beside what was once the coach-road to the goldfields.
In 1842, Surveyor Tuckett found three Europeans living near the pa at the mouth of the Aorere River. They were building a trading vessel. The tiny settlement was first named Gibbstown after an influential resident but later the name was changed to Collingwood, honouring Nelson's second-in-command at Trafalgar.
Gold was found in the Aorere in December 1856, and within a year there were a thousand men working there.
Aorere became the first major goldfield in New Zealand and was notable because sluicing was used and the diggers got together to set down their own regulations.
The rush lasted for three years, during which time Collingwood was mooted as the capital of New Zealand.
The Heaphy Track is one of New Zealand's 'Great Walks', & one of the more popular tramping tracks.
Thousands visit it each year, walking the 82 kms to the West Coast over its ever-changing scenery and landscapes.
The track is benched, cut & kept clear, all rivers & streams are bridged and there are many huts and shelters on the way. In the summer time, Department of Conservation staff monitor the huts. Check with Department of Conservation regarding weather & track conditions before departing.
Tamati Pirimona Marino was a chief at Aorere when the New Zealand Company first visited. He signed the Treaty of Waitangi and is buried at the Old Collingwood Cemetery. Fred Tyree was a pioneer photographer who recorded the early days of European settlement. His exceptional black and white images are on display at Aorere Centre, Collingwood.
Salisbury Creek and the footbridge were named after the Salisbury family, descendants of brothers John and Charles Salisbury who came to the area to seek their fortunes from gold about 1860.
A beautiful waterfall and swimming hole which is a great spot to visit all year. In summer the swimming hole is popular with locals and visitors enjoying the deep green water and cooling spray from the waterfall.