Reefton - The Town of Light
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Reefton the Town of Light
The Bearded Miners are well known Reefton locals. Sit down and have a cup of billy tea with them and it might be a while before you leave! They'll share stories of how Reefton was founded around gold and brag how it became the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to have electric streetlights. Visitors can explore the town to learn about the gold and light history of the area, have a go at gold panning, explore the nearby Lewis Pass area or just soak in the scenic surrounds at the natural hot pools at Maruia Springs.
The Reefton Gold area includes Inangahua, Reefton, Blacks Point, Maruia, Springs Junction, Maruia Springs, Lewis Pass and Waiuta.
Reefton, on the Lewis Pass road and near Victoria Conservation Park (NZ's largest), is well worth a stop and its claim to fame is an illuminating one – in 1888 it was the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to have electric streetlights! Now a curious mix of old and new, it's still a preserve of historic charm. Relax as you stroll down the main street wandering in and out of shops that have purposely kept their early 1900's feel, or put your feet up and stay a while in one of the Reefton accommodation options. There are shops, antique stores, a supermarket and dining in Reefton too.
The Reefton Goldrush in the 1860s created much of the character, charm and history you see in the township and surrounding areas today. The town itself became established about 1870 and with mining came technology and innovation. In August 1888 Reefton became the first place in New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere to have a public supply of electricity, even before the fashionable suburbs of London and New York. Do the Power House Walk to see the location of the power supply.
A great place to see Reefton's history in action is the Reefton i-SITE as they have a walk through replica gold mine and a fully restored Holman Winding Engine. There are also many historic places of interest around Reefton, including the Historic Town Walk, the Railway Precinct, Alborns Coal Mine and the Big River area. All of which are now part of the many rich heritage expeditions available through the recently created Goldfields of Quartzopolis.