The Callery Gorge walk is an easy 1 hr & 20min walk from the start and you double back again along the same track. The track follows the old sluice pipes laid by the Waiho Sluicing Company in 1912. Callery was the first person to find gold in Franz Josef in 1868.
In the map above, if you zoom in on the walk, you’ll see all the following track points and their location. Each point has photos along with a description about each one.
Head to the cul-de-sac in Cowan Street, this is your starting point. Just follow the road to the trun off, 11 minutes. Take the right fork to Callery Gorge. This service road is well used and leads to Franz Josef township water tanks.
From there the track is a little narrower until you reach the bluffs. The wooden handrails are there to stop you from taking a dive down to the Waiho river. Keep an eye open for the old water pipes running along the track.
The walk to the water tanks is straightforward, you will walk past a green steel box with “Explosives” on the front door! Don’t worry, OSH would not allowed explosives to be stored on a public access road so any Tom, Dick or Harry could just walk up to the box and try to open it with a screwdriver and blow themselves up! At the water tanks there is only one path to take otherwise you will end up in the water works area and will most likely be asked with a smile, to leave.
From here the track is a little narrower until you reach the bluffs. The wooden handrails are there to stop you from taking a dive down to the river. This is where the Waiho Sluicing Company tried their hand at gold mining. Keep an eye open for the old Waiho Sluicing Company water pipes running along the track.
Now the track get’s interesting. For the first fifteen minutes the walking is flat then you descend down to Callery Gorge swing bridge.
DOC have closed the track that runs up to the next turn off to Roberts Point and the swing bridge that crosses the Waiho River and back to the middle carpark. So after our hot cup of coffee we decided to walk out via the Waiho River to the Franz Josef bridge, then it is a short walk back into town – normally you would double back on the same track. This little detour cut our walking time in half. If the Callery River is lapping the side of the Gorge, don’t walk back out the Waiho River, you will be swimming not walking.
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