Hearing about gold in the area made me daydream about hitting it rich. Finding gold in the Aorere River. We headed out to Salisbury Falls, a popular spot for swimming during the summer and a place that has the best skipping stones I think I’ve ever found. I feel like I broke some skipping record for sure. We brought with us a metal pan to scoop sand on the river banks to test out our luck at finding any gold but gave up after awhile.

Fun fact: The Salisbury Falls and Aorere River are a famous spot where Tauriel & Legolas meet before heading into Lake-town in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

In 1887 the suspension bridge was built across the river but was swept away in a flood three years later, its replacement was also destroyed in a flood in December 2010.

The current swing bridge to get to the falls is a great lookout point to see the impressive boulders and massive rocks below sitting in the middle of the river. The water along the edge of the river appear yellow and gold with the deeper parts a rusty dark crimson red. All this juxtaposed by bright green fields up above on the hillsides, white snow covered mountain tops off in the distance, and a piercing blue sky.

After exploring the falls we made our way down further to another bridge.

Signs posted for fishing and game access were found so we parked off to the side and made our way down to the rocky river banks. Crouched over and turning stones and sifting through the sand anything that sparkled deserved a closer examination, but after a while of this we eventually gave up any hope of finding gold. Dreams crushed. We would need an upgrade. A metal detector would be nice.

At the Golden Bay Holiday Park, I spoke with one of the owners and he had mentioned that a guy had actually built a home near the river and would find a steady $1000 a month in gold as well as sell sluice boxes to tourists and those interested in finding gold themselves.
I thought that it’d be a pretty sweet job title for my future resume, full-time trout fisher and gold fossicker. One can only dream.

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