|Your Complete Guide to New Zealand's Beautiful Coromandel Peninsula
Karangahake Main Street (c.1910)
Development of the Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway began when the Paeroa to Waihi railway line was
closed in 1979. The walkway follows part of the old railway formation. The
track passes several important historical features associated with the Karangahake gold fields.
The walkway is administered by the Department of Conservation.
[ top ]
Karangahake Gorge is situated between the townships of Paeroa
and Waihi, with access via State Highway 2.
There are three points of entry to the walkway, each with carparks. These are
located at Karangahake (across the Ohinemuri River at the Crown Battery site);
Owharoa Falls, off Waitawheta Road; and the Waikino Historic Station and Visitor
The Visitor Centre has displays featuring the gold mining and timber history of the
general area, as well as information on walks and other facilities in nearby parks and
[ top ]
Waikino to Owharoa Falls
2 kilometres. 30 minutes one way.
From the Waikino car park the walkway passes under
the highway and then via a footbridge over the Ohinemuri River to the Victoria Battery
The walkway follows the old railway formation beside the Ohinemuri River to the Owharoa
Falls - Taieri Stream confluence.
[ top ]
5 kilometres. 90 minutes one way.
The walkway begins beside the foundation remains of the Crown Battery. From
the lowest level of the battery site, a footbridge crosses the Ohinemuri River and SH 2 to
the western portal of the former railway tunnel. This 1100 metre tunnel is
electrically lit along its length.
At the eastern portal, the walkway crosses an old railway bridge, where there is a choice
of continuing on to Owharoa Falls, or taking the Karangahake Loop Track.
[ top ]
Karangahake Loop Track
2 kilometres. 45 minutes.
(This section of the track is unsuitable for wheelchairs.)
From the eastern portal bridge, the track follows the Ohinemuri River and passes
the Woodstock and Talisman battery remains, returning back to Karangahake.
[ top ]
The goldfields of Coromandel and Thames opened in 1852 and 1867 respectively, but it was not
until March 1875 that gold was mined from the Karangahake area.
The underground quartz lodes had to be mined, crushed and treated before the gold
could be extracted. However, transport difficulties and lack of capital and gold in
payable quantities led to the collapse of many early companies.
A major breakthrough occurred in 1889 with the introduction of the McArthur -
Forrest cyanide process for extracting gold from quartz, which enabled a dramatic increase
in gold recovery.
Three large batteries were built at Karangahake in the 1890s - the Crown, Talisman
and Woodstock - for the treatment of ore taken from extensive mine networks inside
Karangahake Mountain. The Victoria Battery was built at Waikino
in 1897 to crush ore from the Waihi Martha mine. By 1903
it was the largest battery in New Zealand, with 200 stampers used to crush the
Output from the Karangahake quartz mines in 1909 made up 60% of the total gold
produced in New Zealand. Between 1910 and 1920,
however, many of the mines declined as costs of gold recovery began to outweigh
profits. The main batteries at Karangahake closed down and were demolished.
Only the Waihi operations carried on until 1952 when they too
closed, and the Victoria Battery was gradually demolished.
Introduction Where in the World?
Pacific Coast Highway
Site Advertising Links & Search
Old front page