A golden find in Central Otago
A rare opportunity to have a slice of Central Otago mining history has been brought to market by Harcourts.
Located on the Fruitlands-Roxburgh thoroughfare just 15 minutes from Alexandra, the property boasts stunning views of the Old Man Range, remnants of an old miner’s cottage, bubbling creeks, and distinctive schist stones that could have come straight out of a Lord of the Rings movie.
The recently renovated home offers the warmth of natural timber providing a great cosy feel, a standalone hobby room, and an outdoor entertainment area for enjoying long summer evenings. It’s a lifestyle block with a unique edge.
Harcourts Alexandra agents Andrew Little and Adam Yallop are delighted to have a property on the market in such a sought-after area. “We often have people looking for entry level lifestyle properties like this in the area and have to say we don’t have anything because they’re such a rarity. So it’s great to have this property to market,” says Andrew.
A labour of love
Although originally from New Zealand, vendors Tricia and Justin Harding had been living for many years in Switzerland. Initially only Justin wanted to return to New Zealand, but after visiting the Central Otago region, Tricia was all in. They were so keen to live in there that in 2016 they purchased the property online from Switzerland.
On arrival, they were surprised to find it had been covered in broom for years. But they knew there was more to the land than met the eye. Tricia was adamant she wanted to reveal Central Otago’s signature rock features beneath. “I wanted rocks, like the surrounding land, so the two of us cleared the whole place of broom by hand and uncovered them all,” she says.
“We also cleared down by the creek, which is beautiful, and then put a gate in at the top.” They put the gate in to let neighbouring farmer’s sheep come in to keep the grass down.
This labour of love has been an awesome space for the vendor’s family, just as it will be for potential buyers. Tricia says, “It’s been a great playground for our grandchildren because they can play in the creek, lie on the grass and rocks, and find their special places.”
Fruit trees and gold galore in the land’s history
The old cottage ruin on the property is reminiscent of the rich gold mining history of the area. It was built in 1864 by a local character and gold miner named Carl Sorensen. The now derelict hut sits at the cornerstone of one of the most historically significant sites in the Fruitlands area. Tricia explains, “The old cottage is in a beautiful spot on the junction of Coal and Obelisk creeks. It’s obvious that a lot of gold digging went on here as they’ve dug down to the bedrock.”
Obelisk Creek was one of the most sought-after gold claims back in the day. Many gold miners tried other areas at the Northern end of Fruitlands, but they decided that Obelisk Creek offered better and more permanent returns.
During the gold mining peak Bald Hill Flat, now known as Fruitlands had a large enough population to support a local store and hotel. However, the gold mining era came to an end in 1907, as gold proved difficult to find. Many miners turned to farming and rabbiting.
Despite the gold rush having long gone, the water races established by the miners are still valuable today, supplying water that is still used by local farmers and orchardists.
The ‘Fruitlands’ region where the property is located gained its name due to a government program following World War I. 60,000 fruit trees were planted as part of a soldier’s settlement. It became Fruitlands from that point onwards, despite very few of the original trees surviving the harsh climate.
An iconic piece of Central Otago could be all yours
Making a sale on this property means a lot for Tricia and her partner Justin. They’re selling because they want to be closer to family in the North Island. Tricia says, “We’ve had a wonderful time here but it’s time to move on and find another project.
I’m really quite sad to leave but I’m hoping to pass it on to someone who can take it to the next level.”
If you are interested in snagging yourself an iconic piece of Central Otago, get in touch with Andrew and Adam at Harcourts Alexandra.
Deadline sale closes 1pm 27th April 2023. Prior offers considered. View the listing here.