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Karangahake Gorge Windows Walk

Home  »  North Island Walks  »  Waihi  »  Karangahake Gorge Windows Walk – Walk detail

Karangahake Gorge Windows Walk in the heart of the old historic gold mining area in Waihi. An easy 2k round trip walk through exciting tunnels and the amazing Karangahake Gorge. Great views of the river below.

Quick Facts

        • Location: North Island NZ
        • Distance: 2 kms
        • Time needed: 1 Hour
        • Difficulty: Easy
        • Wheelchair Access: No
        • Route: Round Trip
        • Elevation: Unknown
        • Wet Feet: No
        • Toilets: Yes
        • Dogs: No
        • Mobile Coverage: No
        • Last Updated: November, 2019
  • Track Highlights

    Walking through Karangahake George is an explorer’s delight. Everywhere you look will you can see the remains of all the train tracks that carried the quarts out to the old noisy batteries. Steam boilers, no longer producing steam but rust. Tunnels dug deep in to mount Karangahake with pick shovel and dynamite.

    I have spent many a weekend crawling through wet muddy drives. Summer is the best time to go looking for old drives. Pushing your way through the wet bush is not very pleasant. Also the drives tend to fill up with water. This could make the wall and roof very soft and cave in. I would advise you to have a back up torch and batters. Chalk to mark the way in and a rope with two strong pegs plus a hammer to drive the pegs in, also let some one know were you are going and the time you intend to get out.

    The people of Karangahake and the Department of conservation are starting to restore the old mining sites back to their original working condition, with the intentions of running daily guided tours through the workings.

  • Track Quality

    Very good walking but you will need a torch.

  • Hazards

    Abandoned mine shafts and drives can collapse at any time. You will need to take a torch with you.

  • Transport

    Unknown

  • Water

    Water is in the car park as well as the toilets.

  • Driving Instructions

    Karangahake Gorge is 13 Km from Waihi and 8 Km from Paeroa

  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    13 Km into Waihi

  • Area & Track History

    In 1875 gold was mined in Karangahake George. Three main batteries, Crown, Talisman and Woodstock produced 60% of NZs total gold production. Even today in the town of Waihi, just 12ks away, gold is still being mined. By 1920, the costs of gold recovery began to outweigh the profits. The main batteries at Karangahake closed down and were demolished.

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

  • Map location of Karangahake Gorge Windows Walk

    Map of walk

Points of interest along the walk

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.

Point 1: Karangahaka Gorge car park

The car park has toilets, water and picnic tables under shelters. A great place to pull up for a break. Take a torch with you. This is an excellent walk to get a feel of the old days. You will also see tremendous views of the gorge. Take the 15 minute walk to the windows. Cross the first bridge at the bottom of the car park. Turn left and walk past the remains of the old battery and make your way over to the second swing bridge. You can see the second swing bridge from the car park, over to your left.

Point 2: The Windows

When you step off the swing bridge right in front of you is the old Woodstock battery, now turn right and up hill you go. At the top of the steps is a junction, turn left and follow the tram tracks out to the lookout where you get a good view of the car park. The two large holes you pass on the right are old underground ovens, the holes were filled with dry wood and then the gold bearing rock was thrown on top. The heat from the fire would help crack the rock making it easier to extract the gold. This walk will take about 5 minutes. Back track to the junction and continue to the windows, passing the remains of Talisman battery. You will walk through the old battery on the way to the windows. It is well worth the time having a look around, the boys have built steps there to make it easier to explore the old battery. You will be amazed at how much work went in to building the batteries, this is the exciting section. The first two short sections of the drive you will not need a torch. The windows let in ample light for you to see. The next lot of windows are great places to look down in to the gorge; you might also see people looking out of the last windows. The last section is dark, you will need the torch. I have met one guy who was using the light from his cell phone to get him through. There is a short drive off to the left; this was the crib room for the local miners while they extended the drive out to the staircase in 2005.

Point 3: Crown Tramway

At the end of the drive, you will descend down the wooden steps and met up with the main Crown Tramway. To get back to the car, turn right and walk over the bridge that you should have seen from one of the windows. Again if time permits, turn to the left and follow the track up river for a few minutes, you will see a lot of old drives on both sides of the river plus old pipes, train rails, and even a steam boiler balancing on the side of a cliff. The walk back is very interesting. This was the main track in for the miners and the water pipeline. If you look down into the creek, you can see what is left of the steel reverted water pipes.

All walks in Waihi…

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Contact info

Karangahake gorge State Highway 2, Karangahake 3674, New Zealand

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