Situated at the base of the Coromandel Range, the Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway follows the old railway line between Paeroa and Waihī, giving access to impressive remains from the mining and railway eras. Don’t forget to take a torch to explore the old tunnels!
About the walks
This walkway features historic railway remains in a stunning natural gorge setting, including two steel truss bridges and a one-kilometre rail tunnel, and provides access to the relics of historic gold mining.
The walkway follows the railway line through the gorge and then opens out alongside the Ōhinemuri River, passing through the huge Victoria Battery complex and terminating at the Waikino Station where a café and train rides can be investigated.
A shorter loop section can be walked, that includes both bridges and the 1100m railway tunnel at Karangahake. The two walks are as follows:
Rail Tunnel Loop
How long will it take? This is a 2.5km 45-minute return walk.
Starting at Karangahake Hall, walk through the foundations of the Crown Battery before climbing up onto the Western Portal Bridge over the river. The 1100m former rail tunnel, which is well lit, leads from the end of this bridge and emerges at the Eastern Portal Bridge which takes you back over the Ōhinemuri River.
From here there is a choice of completing the loop back to Karangahake by walking downstream along the river, or you can choose to continue on the Historic Walkway by going upstream towards Waikino.
Historic Walkway to Waikino
How long will it take? This is a 4.3km four-hour return walk.
At the Eastern Portal Bridge go upstream, following the bends in the river along the line of the railway. It is about an hour's walk before you reach Ōwharoa Falls and the entrance to the Victoria Battery. Victoria Battery is a destination in its own right, but a short walk through the remains, following the railway line, leads you to an underpass which provides access to the Waikino Station. Return the same way or have your friends pick you up!
Victoria Battery Site
Erected in 1897 to crush quartz, the Victoria Battery was considered the largest and most advanced facility of its type in New Zealand.
Today, a short walk from the Waikino Station Café takes you to the Victoria Battery site, which has interesting on-site information. The Victoria Battery Tramway Society also offers guided tours on a narrow-gauge mining tramway and tours of the Victoria Battery’s ore kilns.
The ride includes some narrow, winding sections where cyclists are asked to dismount in certain sections (check for signage). The tunnel does have some lighting, however, a bike light or torch is recommended.