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The Kauaeranga Valley was once filled with magnificent kauri trees. From the 1870s to the 1920s, this area was extensively logged for its kauri.
At first the easier slopes near Thames were logged and the kauri milled locally. During the 1890s the kauri timber industry slumped and many local mills closed down.
Around 1910 the industry revived and plans were made to extract the remaining stands of timber in the rugged area above Kauaeranga Gorge - the area now traversed by the Kauri Trail.
In the main river valley and its tributaries, contractors worked from bush camps supplied by packhorse track. Using axe, saw and timber jack, they felled thousands of massive trees, which were trimmed, cut to length and transported to streams, and rivers via log chutes or along skidded roads. Dams were built in the valley and often tripped in sequence to send timber down the river.
Tramlines were also used to move logs. The most spectacular example being the Billygoat tramline, which was built to bypass the Billygoat Falls. Logs were damaged beyond use going over the falls so an alternative means of transport was developed to get the logs to market. Part of the Kauri Trail walk takes in remnants of the old tramline.
By 1928 most of the kauri had been logged! The tramline was pulled up and the dams, bush camps and other relics fell into ruin as Kauaeranga forests slowly recovered. In 1970 the remaining native forests of the Kauaeranga were protected as part of the Coromandel Forest Park.
The Kauaeranga Valley provides an extensive variety of walking for all abilities. There are lots of different walks in the Kauaeranga Valley ranging anywhere from 15 minutes to 8 hours
For detailed track information, collect a DOC brochure from any of the Coromandel Information centres or the Kauaeranga DOC Visitor centre up the valley.