Just a few minutes from Greymouth, alongside the Grey River, the site of the Brunner Coalmine is clearly visible from the main road to Reefton. This heritage area has seen a great deal of restoration effort in the last two years. Access is via an impressive bridge, now in its fifth or sixth reincarnation after being reconstructed in 2004.
From the bridge, you can see the remains of the coking ovens and railhead.
This contrasts with the scene 100 or so years ago (image from Te Ara website):
There is a loop walk which heads up the hill behind the mine site. After climbing some distance, I was surprised to see the remains of quite a large boiler.
The bearings for the crankshaft in this next picture would have been at least 150mm in diameter, just to give you an idea of the weight of this lump of metal.
There is a memorial to miners lost in New Zealand’s worst mining accident, in 1896. 65 workers lost their lives, not only from the initial explosion caused by ignition of methane gas followed by coal dust explosions, but also from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Many of the dead were buried in a mass grave at nearby Stillwater.
It seemed like a very suitable day to be visiting these sites, grey and freezing cold.