Central Otago side roads where the people have all left
Take the side roads, slow down on the unsealed gravel road and absorb the austere beautiful landscapes of Otago while finding where people once lived.
- Otago Rail Trail describes Pukerangi as a railway siding 21 km from Middlemarch. It is not officially part of the Rail Trail and the journey between Middlemarch and Pukerangi is on public roads. The turn off to Pukerangi is clearly signposted on SH87 1km south of Sutton, which in turn is 9 km’s south of Middlemarch
WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS
Pukerangi is also part of the alternative road route to Middlemarch from Dunedin
- From Pukerangi towards Middlemarch are the remains of the Matarae sluicings and alluvial action from gold mining dredging. As you cross the Tariei River look closely for more evidence of nineteenth century mine tailings
- Cottesbrook’s stunning schist woolshed, stables, stone pens, and outbuilding dating back to the late 1860’s
- Rock tor landscape panoramic views from hilltops as you explore the side roads (gravel)
- There are several picturesque stone ruined stone cottages, originally the homes of gold miners. Photographs will need to be taken from the road side as they are located on private land
PUKERANGI RAILWAY STATION
Information plaques in the waiting room together with toilets and drinking water are available.
Local and historic information is available in the waiting room of the station building. At Pukerangi you will find toilet facilities and water for your drink bottle but no cell phone coverage until nearer SH87. It is poignant to be in a station where the trains have stopped. The Tairei Gorge scenic train route has been suspended until further notice.
The Taeiri River has good runs of brown trout and salmon, near Pukerangi sidings are good spots for throwing a line. Ask a local fly fishing guide for tips where to go.
WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIE
- Postcard pretty stone ruined cottages
- Autumn with snow dusting the Rock and Pillar Ranges
- Sweeping tusssock landscapes from roadside vantage points
- Promise an ice cream in Middlemarch. The alternative route duration is up to 40 minutes additional driving time considering gravel roads, and photo stops.
- Alternative route for history buffs and photographers after that special shot of landscapes, light and the extraordinary beauty of Central Otago
WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED PUKERANGI?
- Maori name means Hill of Heaven then Barewood after the name of the 1898, the Barewood Gold Mining Company (closed 1911). Gold was discovered here in 1888. The provincial government had vested the Barewood pastoral station with the Otago University (Dunedin). The lapsed gold mining leases were taken over by sheep farmers. The Otago Central Railway reached Pukerangi in 1890 travelling through the Tairei Gorge with its narrow viaducts and bridges. In its heyday Pukerangi had a school and general store.
Unique journeys, personal adventures.