The Nevis Valley is the only extensive, yet easily accessible, valley system of this type in New Zealand. A range of gold mining relics and reminders of key events of the region's history still exist untouched.
Saved by the remoteness of this valley, the remains of numerous stone buildings from the gold mining days offer a fascinating insight into the perseverance and ingenuity of early pioneers. The relics include everything from the cemetery and settlement buildings through to a woolshed and the first ski hut.
This remote back country valley is bordered by high mountain ranges from either side - to the west the Remarkables and Hector Mountains, and to the east the Old Woman Range.
From Cromwell, the unsealed road to Nevis Valley rises 1300 metres over Duffers Saddle before descending to run alongside the river. Nevis Valley also has a lower and an upper section separated by a gorge.
When the valley is not snowbound, four-wheel drive vehicles and trail bikes can continue on through the gorge and upper valley, crossing several fords before rising over the Hector Mountains to the town of Garston just south of Lake Wakatipu.
The Valley was first used as a trail route by earlier Maori (Nga Tahu) and in the 1860’s Early European settlers farmed the valley. Then, October 1862, saw miners from the Dunstan goldfield discover gold, leading to the Nevis Valley Gold Rush which continued through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Early occupation of the Nevis Valley was meet with a climate of extremes and is still underdeveloped with its relatively untouched landscape. Providing aesthetic significance and historical insight into the way of life for the Early Maori, European and Chinese settlers.