Family treasure hunt in Raurisertal: panning for gold
There are simply some days when getting up in the morning is more fun than usual. Especially when a vacation day promises lots of adventures and incredible discoveries. Like a day such as this one in Raurisertal in Hohe Tauern National Park: After breakfast enjoyed in our fully equipped apartment at Carpe Solem Rauris, we pack together our rucksack and the kids for the 20-minute drive to the Bodenhaus in Upper Hüttwinkltal. We leave the car on the car park next to the ticket gate for the Kolm Saigurn toll road. After a 5 min walk, we reach the Bodenhaus gold panning site. It’s located by the Kolm Saigurn toll road, in the forest next to the Rauriser Ache – and that’s exactly where we want to see if this is our lucky day. As treasure hunters. Our goal is to pan thin slivers of gold from the water. And that might very well be a distinct possibility – after a brief introduction to the art of gold panning. After all, it is estimated that Rauris still “sits” on approximately 120 tons of gold (!). That’s where (in addition to its golden history) its nickname as the "golden valley of the Alps", comes from. Throughout the valley, we still encounter traces of those gold-mining days of yore. Hiking, for example, in Kolm Saigurn, where, not far from the Neubau refuge hut, you will discover the ruins of former miners’ huts and even a lift. Or right in the center of Rauris itself. As you walk through town, barely five minutes from Carpe Solem Rauris, you will stroll past numerous houses once resided in by mine overseers and owners, including what is today’s village hall. Furthermore, Raurisertal has frequently hosted various gold panning championships (yes, there are indeed such things!), including the European and World Championships during the 1980s and 90s.
As for now, back to the gold-panning site and our own adventures as treasure hunters: Theo, who manages this particular gold-panning site, is a passionate sluicer and shares a few of his secrets with us. The correct way to hold the pan, how much water you need – and last but not least, the spots along the river where you are most likely to strike it rich. Our “treasure hunt” is free with the Nationalpark Sommercard – and you can even take any golden slivers you find back home with you. Only one thing isn’t totally clear: Who will have more fun panning for gold, the kids or daddy?! 😉