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Voted 51st of the 101 Must Do's for Kiwis
Many Kiwi’s will have driven through the breathtaking Karangahake Gorge but few will have ventured into the walkways, old tunnels, discovered the rich history hidden in the gorge or cycled the Hauraki Rail Trail.
Not only is this one of the most stunning stretches of river in the country it is home to one of the busiest and most lucrative goldstrikes in the country.
The Karangahake Gorge historic walkway follows the old Paeroa to Waihi railway line with the remainder of the track following the banks of the Ohinemuri River. Old mine buildings and machinery can be seen from a number of locations on the walkway
Downstream where the Waitewheta River meets the Ohinemuri, visitors can explore relics of the many processes that took place in extracting gold, from the tunnels where rock was extracted, to the roasting pits where rock was broken down and finally remnants of the huge stamper battery processing plant, The Talisman battery, built in the 1890’s was huge in its day, with 50 stampers crushing rock around the day.
The Windows Walkway would have to rate as one of the most stunning in the area with windows blasted through the gold mining tunnels providing stunning views into the Waitewheta river.
The Karangahake Gorge is a major highlight for the Hauraki Rail Trail, which can be accessed from Thames, Paeroa, Waihi, or Te Aroha. The trail offers a range of short riding options or for those wishing to make a weekend of it the entire trail can be done over a three days.
The Waikino Cafe located in the Gorge (7.5km from Waihi and 15km from Paeroa), hosts a Visitor Centre that has displays with information showing the attractions of the Karangahake Gorge area. Shorter and longer walks along the Ohinemuri and Waitawheta Rivers take visitors through beautiful countryside, historic gold mining sites and mine tunnels. If you have a few hours (8) to spare, take the time to do the Waitawheta-Tramway walk
TIP: As an alternative way of getting to the Karangahake Gorge, Goldfields Heritage Railway operate a daily service between the Waihi Railway Station and Waikino Station Café.