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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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