The main entrance to Gilmour Reserve is at the southern end of Gilmour Street, easily spotted from Tauranga Road near the southern entrance to Waihi.
Gilmour Reserve is now a well established, picturesque spot for picnics, relaxation, walking, duck feeding and model boat sailing. Public toilets are available for comfort stops and a pre-schooler's playground, fully fenced, will keep under-fives and parents happy by the lakeside.
Young Children's Playground
A fully-fenced playground designed for pre-school children under five years old, is situation lakeside, near the main duck feeding area.
Included below are a few stories published in local newspaper, the Hauraki Herald about Gilmour Reserve:
Gilmour Lake - Waihi's Surprising Swan
Dug from humble wasteland by the Waihi Gold Mining Company in the late 1980’s, Lake Gilmour may have started life as an ugly duckling, but it has since grown into a surprisingly attractive swan.
When gold mining in Waihi clunked to a standstill in 1952, dewatering also ceased and the groundwater returned to its original pre-mining level. As a result the collapsed ‘Milking Cow’ workings at the eastern end of Pukewa (Martha hill) filled with water creating a small lake, known as Mine Lake.
Remembered by some as a dreary lake with gloomy dark water surrounded by bush and old mine workings, Mine Lake was a popular public space nevertheless, not to mention home to a large number of waterfowl and ducks.
Therefore, when gold mining cranked into gear once more in the late 1980’s, the Gold Mining Company at the time (Waihi Gold Mining) created a new lake (okay, large pond) near the Ohinemuri River in compensation for the inevitable loss of the one at Pukewa.
Since 2000, work on the Lake Gilmour Reserve (named after Waihi Mayor, Thomas Gilmour) has included a paved lakeside walkway, public toilets, and a wooden stage for community events and concerts. Waihi Rotary Club has also built a wetland boardwalk, Forest and Bird has planted trees, and in 2006 the Morgan Family donated a fountain in memory of former Waihi Mayor, Owen Morgan.
Hinuera stone works carved by students at a sculpture symposium held by local sculptor, Trevor Heighway, found a resting place beside the Lake in early 2000, and the car park entrance is flanked by two of Trevor’s own sculptures depicting the history of Waihi and the Ohinemuri River from both a mining and Maori mythology perspective.
More recently, two new picnic tables and a footpath have been installed at the northern end of the reserve.
Pick of the Park
Whatever Floats your Boat
A Norwegian Fisheries Patrol Boat is quite possibly the last thing you would expect to see chugging across Lake Gilmour - not to mention a fleet of racing yachts. But they’re there every Sunday, rain, hail, or shine.
One of around 12 lakeside regulars, local radio-controlled boat enthusiast, Roger Ward, spent months working on his replica 1.4m Norwegian Fisheries Patrol Boat. Fully ‘decked out’ using nuts and bolts, bottle caps, bits of brass, and necklaces bought from ‘Bargains and More’, it even has a fully functional, remote control helicopter nestled on the back.
Mr Ward also owns a number of radio-controlled racing yachts, and is currently working on a replica 1.8m, steam driven, Thames River Tug Boat.
“Now I’m retired I live for Sundays and going down to the lake for a sail,” he says.
Sunday mornings for the model boat enthusiasts are devoted to sailing practice, and racing begins after 1pm. Mr Ward says anyone with an interest in model boats is welcome to come down and get the wind in their sails.
“Bring some lunch and a chair, and have a look,” he says, “I always take three or four boats down to the Lake with me and I’m more than happy to teach anyone who wants to try their hand at sailing a boat.”