Broken Hills, Water Race Walk

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The Water Race Tunnel Track is an easy 1.9 km loop track. The area was also heavily logged for the valuable Kauri trees. But in the last few years over two thousand kauri trees have been planted on both sides of the river. Take the Main Range Track off the Puketui Walk and turn left onto the Water Race Tunnels Track. This follows the old water race that took water from the Third Branch Stream across the Tairua River via three tunnels to drive the Broken Hills Battery. The original race was 3300 m long. At the southern end, the track joins the Water Race Link Track, where you can either drop down a stepped track for 15 min to the Puketui Walk and return to where you started, or climb up to the Third Branch Track and onto Collins Drive. Broken Hills was a gold-mining area dating back to the early 1900

Quick Facts

        • Location: North Island NZ
        • Distance: 1.70 km
        • Time needed: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
        • Difficulty: Easy
        • Wheelchair Access: No
        • Route: Round Trip
        • Elevation: 118m
        • Wet Feet: No
        • Toilets: Yes
        • Dogs: No
        • Mobile Coverage: No
        • Last Updated: November, 2019
  • Track Highlights

    Walking along the very flat water race and looking down into the Tairua river, this was followed by a walk through short section of water race tunnels. Across the other side of the Tairua river we could just see the remains of the old Golden Hills Battery.

  • Track Quality

    Gravel track to start off with then we walked 10m up a clay track to the 300m long and very flat water race.

  • Hazards


  • Transport


  • Water

    Water taps are in the DOC camp ground. You are advised to boil the water first. The toilets are also in the DOC camp ground

  • Driving Instructions


  • Shops or Restaurants nearby

    A slow 30 Km drive in to Thames

  • Area & Track History

    Broken Hills was a gold-mining area dating back to the early 1900, around 200 people lived along the stretch of the Tairua River. The township was made up of a number shops, community hall and a post office. The river supplied the town with valuable drinking water and was used for the mining and processing of gold, but the town only lasted a couple of years when the gold run out the town died. The area was also heavily logged of the valuable Kauri trees. But in the last few years over two thousand Kauri trees have been planted on both sides of the river. There is no shortage of activities to pick from, tramping, swimming, canoeing, Trout fishing, bird watching, or chill out with a quite Sunday BBQ or camp up for a few days.

  • Best Things To Do near this walk

  • Map location of Broken Hills, Water Race 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: Puketui Valley Car Park

It is a 7km drive down to the end of the Puketui Valley Road. The last couple of k’s are on a narrow dirt road so take it easy. The DOC camp ground is on your right, you might have to open the gate to get in.

Point 2: Start of the water race walk

Right in front of the car was the start of the track, nice and easy. Fifteen minutes later we walked across a wooden bridge and on our right is the start of the track. It was just a short 20m walk to the start of the water race walk, we turn to the left and headed off for a very easy flat walk. In some places it was easier walking in the water race until I came across a very muddy patch. In one section we had to walk around a very wide slip, but the boy’s had built a good set of steps and hand rails to help you out so there was no problem there. As we walked across the slip, we could look up and down the Tairua River and catch a glimpse or two of the old Broken Hills Battery. Then you arrive at the tunnels, the high light of the walk. No you don’t need a torch they are only 6m long and dry to walk through. Just as you walk through the third and last tunnel you walk onto the next turnoff, how disappointing back to a dirt track.

Point 3: Back to the car

All you do here is turn left keep walking down hill do not take the up hill track. Within minutes you arrive at the last turn off so turn to the left again and follow the Puketui track back to the car. At the last turnoff there was a river crossing, it looked like a tractor had driven across the river at one time. On the other side of the Tairua River was a farm house and the Southern end of the Puketiu dirt road, nothing to see at all. Back on the track again, the walk back down the Tairua River to the car park was very quick, it took just on twenty minutes and another five minutes to walk down the road to the camp ground.

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