Buller Gorge Swingbridge
The General History of the Buller Gorge

From its source at Lake Rotoiti, the Buller River cuts a westward course to reach the Tasman Sea at Westport. The scene of floods, earthquakes, and home to hundreds of transient workers during goldmining times, the Gorge has been a challenge to horsemen, coach drivers, roadmakers and bridge builders.

Maori travellers used the river as a highway and helped early European explorers and goldminers to negotiate the treacherous rapids. today's road travellers can take time to enjoy the scenery and features between Murchison and Inangahua in a split fraction of the seven weeks it took Thomas Brunner to make the journey in 1847.

Iron Bridge

Built in 1890, the bridge replaced a punt that operated on the river for many years. No longer did the horse and carriage have to board a wooden pontoon that, linked to cables spanning the river, employed the force and angle of the current against its hull to move across the river.

Below in this1890 photograph of the Iron Bridge, the operator and his wife pump out the punt's hull, probably for the last time, with the access track blocked off and the newly completed bridge awaiting travellers.