‘Gold’ in them thar hills


A goldmining centre on the Queenstown tourist trail with “phenomenal” potential is on the market.

Goldfields Mining Centre, in Kawarau Gorge on the Queenstown-Cromwell highway, 10 minutes from Gibbston, has been substantially developed by the Egerton family over the past 30 years.

The next owner will also inherit a new development-friendly 30-year lease with the Department of Conservation over 17 hectares of historic goldfields land above the Kawarau River.

Queenstown-based TourismProperties.com broker Adrian Chisholm, who’s handling the sale, says the site’s biggest potential will be realised once the planned cycleway, due to connect Queenstown with the Otago Central Rail Trail starting in Clyde, is complete.

Complementing that, the new lease, which commenced in March, allows visitor accommodation for the first time within a six-hectare development zone.

Chisholm says the only limitation is any new building is likely to have to be transported on-site as the centre’s only accessed via a small pedestrian bridge.

Goldfields Mining Centre already operates guided or self-guided tours of various goldfields buildings and artefacts including a ‘Chinese village’ reconstructed for a TV series.

There’s also goldpanning, a wedding/function venue and a souvenir giftshop.

Jetboating and any rafting or riversurfing businesses operating from the site pay a licence fee for each passenger.

For the past five years, Wild Earth winery has also operated from Goldfields, however it’s relocating to Cromwell this month.

“The food and beverage operation will be available for the new owner to operate or sub-lease,” Chisholm says.

“There’s the opportunity to have a cellar door for one of the Central Otago vineyards.”

Beyond that, Chisholm says possible new attractions include hot tubs, horse and cart rides, petting animals for kids and sub-tenancies like a coffee cart, goldsmith or blacksmith or an artist-in-residence, along with the opportunity to ramp up goldpanning activities.

“It’s a phenomenal opportunity because people now want to get off the beaten track, so to speak, and there’s 17ha of off-the-beaten track, 100 metres from the winding state highway.

“It’s a goldmine in every sense of the word.”

The sale’s by private treaty with ‘price on application’ – understood to be about $1 million.

Annual rental to DoC is a percentage of turnover.