Tatara Tunnel, Franz Josef

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Easy 2.5k walk starting from Franz Josef town to Tatara Tunnel, about a 1.5 hour walk.

Around 1907 a team of miners working for the Waiho Sluicing Company started blasting a tunnel into the Tatara mountain. The 500m tunnel was built to supply water 5 km away for gold slicing at the mining site in the Waiho River.

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Quick Facts about this walk

  • Location: Franz Josef, South Island, New Zealand
  • Time needed: 1 hour 30 min walk
  • Distance: 2.5 km
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Bikes allowed: No
  • Route: Double back
  • Elevation: 320m
  • Wet Feet: Yes
  • Toilets: No
  • Dogs: No
  • Mobile Coverage: No
  • Last Updated: April, 2020

We’ve partnered with Macpac outdoor walking & hiking gear to bring you the very best products designed exclusively for our New Zealand climate. They’ll ship for FREE within NZ on orders over $100 (if under $100 it’s only $5). Worldwide international shipping is available except to the USA. Bulky orders will be $20.

Summary points about this walk

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Points of interest along the walk​

Point 1: Start of the Tatare Tunnel walk

Heads to the cul-de-sac in Cowan Street this is your starting point. Just follow the road to the turn off, 11 minutes. You take the left fork, there is a signpost giving you directions. Then follow your nose to the start of an easy up hill section of the walk. The walk is through bush all the way so don’t expect to be walking in the sun, it can end up being a cold walk.

Point 2: The Tatare Tunnel

You will need a torch for each person and if you can carry a pair of gumboots in a backpack you will be extremely happy you took my advice. Tatara Tunnel is about 340m long, very dark and has a continuous current of clean freezing cold water flowing through it at a depth of 100mm in places. Even the air current through the tunnel is freezing.

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What sort of walking and hiking gear will you need

We’ve partnered with Macpac outdoor walking & hiking gear to bring you the very best products designed exclusively for our New Zealand climate. They’ll ship for FREE within NZ on orders over $100 (if under $100 it’s only $5). Worldwide international shipping is available except to the USA. Bulky orders will be $20.

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