The Golden Progress quartz mine possesses a rare and impressive treasure. It has the only poppet head still standing in Central Otago.
It is located in the Ida Valley just south of Oturehua, off Reef Road, along a short, well marked track. On the track there are some tailings, a small stone hut and a dam. The last part leading to the diggings follows the rail lines that were used to get the spoil to the stamper battery.
The battery has since been removed. Concrete blocks mark the spot where it once stood. But the steam boiler that powered the battery is still there.
The 14-metre high poppet head structure sits over a mine shaft 46 metres deep. It supports wheels, which once ran steel ropes that hoisted gold-bearing ore to the surface. The metal cage sitting beneath it was used to move people, equipment and ore up and down the shaft.
There are good views of the Hawdun Range and the Blackstone hills from here.
The reefs of the Oturehua field were worked spasmodically from 1868. There is little else left from those days. Although the size of the tailings suggest the Golden Progress mine was one of the bigger ones.
Watch your step; there are other shafts in the area.
This site is on private property and is closed during September and October for lambing.