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Art & Heritage

Abandoned ghost towns

  • 1 minute

New Zealand

Best Bits has a fascination with the emptiness, disappeared people, disappeared life, just empty decaying buildings.  I wonder what happened that a place is deserted and now a ruin.

Ohura main street, closed and empty, New Zealand
Ohura main street, closed and empty


At its peak the town supported 5,0000 people. Now the town has 129 inhabitants (2013 census). Ohura lies on the banks of the Mangaroa River. Coal mining has ceased and the railway stopped operating over twenty years ago and the people left. Ohura offers the visitor an authentic archeological site of the 1950 – 1960’s. There is even a shop display frozen in time complete with a table set for tea and cakes.

Ohura is a perfect place for your imagination to run riot with the possibilities of what is happening behind the closed, barred doors of Ohura.

I had a coffee and cornmeal muffin from a new venture in Ohura. A local thought there was business sense in offering refreshments to the visitors. She had been trading for four days and was already busy. Make sure to find her on the main street. Fiesta Fare trades from her cheerful mobile cafe.

Ohura garden centre has seen better days, New Zealand
Ohura garden centre has seen better days
Closed railway track Ohura district, New Zealand
Closed railway track, Ohura

Ohura has sparks of life include painting your house with birds and planting. The volunteer fire service has a depot. And, of course, it now has a mobile cafe for all those urban tourists.

Then, if Ohura is not enough to you have abandoned churches in Matau and Whangamomona. Keep a lookout for abandoned rural homes and derelict agricultural sheds on your Forgotten Highway journey. History does not need to be very old to be very interesting.

Safety — no issues, it is not often NZ can offer a ghost town, complete with decay as a place to gawk and wonder.



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