Where to go and what to do
Pretty attractive Ross is an ideal choice for heritage fans with family. There are gold mining relics throughout the town precinct from a water cannon for sluicing hillsides to a poppet next to the heritage cottage. The town has mature trees creating a foliage delight in autumn and spring. Ross is an ideal location for exploring nearby Lake Mahinapua and Treetops Walk.
WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS
- Visitor Centre located in former bank building, try your luck at gold panning or purchase a locally crafted gift
- Explore nearby West Coast Wilderness trail
- Walk Ross’s heritage precinct including Old Ross Jail and St Patrick’s Catholic Church
- Spend time imaging life in the restored miner’s cottage
- Kayak on the local rivers
Try your hand at gold fossicking at the nearby Jones Flat creek. Pans and equipment can be hired from the local visitor centre.
Department of Conservation has an excellent online resource describing three top walks Ross Historic Goldfields walks: Ross area, West Coast region
The short, steep climb to the cemetery and waterway walk is rewarding with views, on a clear day to the Tasman Sea. You will pass a miner’s hut, dams, tunnels and abandoned relics. The cemetery headstones narrate the story of a harsh life.
Ross Water Race Walkway
- Time: 1 hr loop walk
This walk is a great option for kids – with tunnels and other gold mining relics there is plenty to keep them interested.
Ross Historic Cemetery
- Time: 10 min one way
Starting from the top end of St James Street; this short walk, which is also part of the Ross Water Race Walkway, zig-zags steeply uphill for a few minutes before entering the historic cemetery. Here you will find many interesting headstones which portray the harshness of life in the early mining days.
- Time: 7 hr return
This walk follows a rough and unmaintained road to the top of Mount Greenland.
IN A DAY FROM ROSS EXPLORE
- Mahinapua Scenic Reserve: Hokitika area places to visit camping, picnics, exploring wetlands, mountain biking and kayaking the lake
- The West Coast Treetop Walk is nearby. The intermediate platform is wheelchair friendly and at 20 m above ground and 450 m in length you feel at home among the mature rimu forest. For the adventurous spirits climb the tower to a dizzy Hokitika Tower 47 m above ground level for sweeping panoramic views. Take a few steps along the cantilever and sway on the Mahinapua Springboard. You will glimpse Lake Mahinapua through the forest foliage.
- New Zealand’s largest gold nugget was unearthed in Ross in 1909; weighing 3.1kg” The nugget was nicknamed the “Honourable Roddy Nugget” after Roderick Mackenzie, Minister for Mines at the time. And the nugget itself was gifted, in 1911 the nugget was given to King George V as a coronation gift and the gold became gold trim on a tea set.
- The Woodham Shield is a fiercely competitive rugby match in memory of George Woodham who was shot while out deer hunting in 1949.
WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIES
- The Old Gold Miner – A very large corrugated iron miner pointing his way to town
- West Coast Wilderness Trail picture frame
WHAT TO DO WITH KIDS
- Explore local rivers for swimming holes or kayak the Totara and Mikonui rivers
- Heritage walk to find tunnels and read cemetery stories together
The Historic Empire Hotel – Group Accommodation in Ross is welcoming. The open fire, the Sunday traditional kiwi roast dinner and music on Friday night and the sense of history makes this one of the memorable stays on the West Coast.
- Fun Run – check facebook page for up to date festival dates
WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED THE PLACE?
- The town grew out of the discovery of gold in the mid-1860s. The name recognises George Ross, provincial treasurer of Canterbury
- 285 (2018)
- Have you booked yet, a must go West Coast destination