Karangahake Gorge is an absolutely gorgeous place to explore. It is full of history and beauty. After exploring Hot Water Beach we headed to Karangahake Gorge which is at the southern end of the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand.
On the way we stopped briefly at Paeroa which is famous for the manufacturing of New Zealands soft drink, L&P, Lemon & Paeroa. Here you will find a giant bottle of L&P which has become a tourist photo point.
5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Karangahake Gorge
- Historical gold mining area
- Hauraki Rail Trail
- Nature Lover
- Photography opportunities
- Love hiking
There’s a fairly large carpark with toilet facilities which I recommend you use prior to exploring and information boards explaining the history of the area.
Once you leave the car park it doesn’t take long to discover the beauty of the area. You are confronted with a suspension bridge which goes over the Whaitawheta River. This was the first of 3 suspension bridges that we crossed.
Once you walk across the bridge it’s time to determine which adventure you want to choose.
It’s a must go to place if you are into the history of the gold mining times, nature lover or if you are looking for places to hike. Of course if you’re into cycling it forms part of the Hauraki Rail Trail. Whatever your reason to explore this magnificent part of the Coromandel Coast I am confident you will not be disappointed. It truly is a place to put on your “to go” list. There are a number of walks to go on to explore this historical spectacle.
Why Did We Explore Karangahake Gorge?
We were attracted to Karangahake Gorge as we wanted to explore the old historical mining tunnels as well as take in the beauty and serenity of the gorge.
What Do You Need To Bring?
This is a place you need to bring a torch with you as some of the tunnels are dark. Without a torch it would be difficult to navigate your way through. Walking shoes are an advantage as depending when you go it can be quite wet underfoot.
Our Experience Exploring The Windows Walkway
We explored the “Windows Walkway” which was incredible. It’s a loop walk which takes you through the historical gold mining tunnels of the Talisman Mine, across a suspension bridge, and along the Crown Tramway Track along the cliffs of the Whaitawheta Gorge. An experience never to be forgotten.
Along the trail you’ll come across signage explaining the history of the area. It explains what machinery was used for gold mining and the purpose of the machinery in the gold mining process.
The tracks also took us past the gold mining ruins. This was fascinating to see after reading up on the history of the area.
We followed the old tram tracks which were used to carry gold out of the tunnels. It was a gold mining area from the 1870’s until the 1950’s. The area produced 60% of the total gold from New Zealand when mining was at its peak at the turn of the century. The tracks took you on a gorgeous trail overlooking the gorge. An awesome spot for photographers.
We then walked through the tunnels and come across “windows” which had been blasted out with dynamite in the gold mining days. The windows were situated at the end of the tunnels and were used to tip tailings into the Waitawheta Gorge. The view out of these windows was amazing. You looked down onto the beautiful Waitewheta River. Across the river you could see the pathway and suspension bridge which the walk takes you on. Imagine what it would’ve been like to witness the miners using these tunnels. Another moment where it would be awesome to go back in time to experience this era.
Once you have completed the Windows Walkway you come out to another scenic lookout of the Waitawheta Gorge which has a plaque congratulating those for completing the walk.
Where Else Can You Explore On The Coromandel Peninsula
If you’d like to see other places to explore on the gorgeous Coromandel Peninsula click on the link to see our adventures.
Other Places We Explored On The North Island
Take a look at the below links of other beautiful places we explored on the North Island. Note these are just a few of the amazing places to take an adventure. We still have so many places to explore!! If anyone tells you that 10 days is enough to explore, think twice!! Suggest you take at least 3-4 weeks.
- Lake Taupo
- Waitomo Caves
- Rotorua including Redwoods Forest, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Rotorua Gondola
- Thames the start of the Coromandel Peninsula
- Coromandel Peninsula including Hot Water Beach, Catherine Gorge
We totally loved exploring the tunnels and the gorge. It was extremely fascinating, educational and scenic. Have you explored this beautiful area? If so what experiences can you share with us? We’d love to hear about them.