Follow an old tramline (1898 – 1928) on a relatively flat track through the spectacular historic Waitawheta Gorge. Extensive kauri logging took place in the early mining days and visitors will see remnants of this past activity. The tramway is relatively flat and wide. After about an hour and a half the track crosses a large suspension bridge to the site of a replica-logging bogie (a tram cart that carried the massive logs). This is a great spot for lunch and to spend time taking photographs.
A short loop track near to the logging bogie offers a detour to the site of an electricity pylon dating from around the year 1900. To complete a shorter, easier trip, return from the logging bogie back down the tramway to the car park.
Alternatively, continue south along the tramline through the spectacular meandering Waitawheta Gorge. The main track requires one river crossing but there is a bypass track that requires just a few small side stream crossings. The main track then leaves the river and goes through a campsite before reaching the toilet bowl waterfall, the Waitawheta Hut, and the site of the old logging mill. Return via the same track, or spend the night to explore more of the park. Walking times for the full trail are 8 hours (return) or 3-4 hours one way.
Access to the Waitawheta Valley is from a small car park at the end of Franklin Road, off Waitawheta Rd, near SH2 at Waikino in the Karangahake Gorge. From the end of Franklin Road follow alongside the Waitawheta River through private farmland before entering the Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park.
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