Karangahake Gorge


Waikino to Karangahake

This is the original Karangahake walkway, and takes about 1-2 hours one way. It is suitable for wheelchairs (via the railway tunnel only).

From the Waikino Station Café visitors cross the Ohinemuri River by a footbridge to reach the Victoria Battery site where quartz from the Martha Mine at Waihi was once processed.

The Battery operated from 1896-1952 and was the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. There is a museum and narrow-gauge railway, open weekends and holidays over summer. The walkway then follows the old railway into the gorge, across a bridge to the eastern portal of a 1086 metre tunnel. At the other end a footbridge leads across the top deck of what was once a combined road/rail bridge down to the lower levels of the Crown battery site. From here visitors have the option of following the loop track back to Waikino (not suitable for wheelchairs). The loop track’s most notable historical features are the remains of the Woodstock and Talisman batteries at the confluence of the Waitawheta and Ohinemuri Rivers. A footbridge also provides access from the track to Karangahake Reserve, where refreshments can be had at the Talisman Tearooms on SH2, or further up the hill at Ohinemuri Winery.

The Windows Walk

Torch required, not suitable for wheelchairs.

This was opened in April 2006. While not long, it is easily one of the most spectacular walks in the North Island. While it could be done in half an hour, visitors should allow a couple of hours to fully explore and experience everything the extended loop walk has to offer.

From Karangahake Reserve, cross the Ohinemuri River and follow the track up the slope. Keep left, following the signs to Crown Tramway and stope and Dickey's Flat. This leads you along the Waitawheta River, and after only a few minutes, the true majesty of the Waitawheta Gorge appears. On the right, partly hidden by regenerating bush, can be seen the ruins of the Talisman Battery site.

The track continues into the narrowest part of the gorge where it has been hacked out of the sheer cliff. Here, up on the right, can be seen the Windows – mine openings cut through the cliff that give the walk its name. Just prior to another swingbridge across the river the track splits. A short (2-3 minutes) track to the right leads to the site of the Talisman mine’s pumphouse, a huge cavern cut out of the mountain.

Still to be developed by DOC, the staircase leads to metal gates where those with powerful torches can get some idea of the massive size of the cavern.

Across the swingbridge, a staircase on the left is marked “Windows walk”. However, if time permits, continue on another 5-10 minutes to the Crown Stope. Here the mine was built across the river and you can see each side of the stope, a massive slice of empty space where gold-bearing ore has been removed from the rock. The stairs lead up, via a couple of viewing platforms, to the entrance of the new tunnel extension, created in 2005.

This leads to a new “window” that gives spectacular views both up and down the river. Continue along the tunnel to a sharp left turn where you enter the original workings. A reinstated tramway leads through the tunnels and past the windows.

Through the final tunnel, the tramway follows the river to the Talisman battery site track. Various tracks wind through the extensive ruins, which are well worth exploring. From here, the track back to the swingbridge and carpark is easy to follow.





DOC Tauranga

07-578 7677