General Information

Karangahake Gorge is situated in the Hauraki District between the townships of Paeroa and Waihi, on State Highway 2. The main attraction to the Karangahake Gorge is the historical walkway, which follows part of the old railway line that ran between Paeroa and Taneatua. Gold mining took place in the Gorge from the 1870s through to the 1950s, and remnants of the mining can be seen, throughout the majestic walk.
Crossover the Ohinemuri River by using the Karangahake Gorge foot bridge. Hauraki District, North Island, New Zealand
Karangahake Gorge
Foot bridge across the Ohinemuri River to the start of the Walkways.

Maori Mythology

Ohinemuri River: Legend tells that the tears of Hinemuri, the youngest daughter of Chief Te One-ki-te-akau, formed the river because her father would not let her marry until her two older sisters had married.


Gold was first mined from the Karangahake Gorge in March 1875. The process of extracting the gold from quartz was long and expensive, with added transport difficulties and lack of capital many of the early companies collapsed. A major breakthrough in the extraction process occurred in 1889, with the McArthur – Forrest cyanide process. This enabled a dramatic increase in gold recovery. In the 1890s, three large crusher batteries were built in Karangahake, the Crown, Talisman and Woodstock, to crush the gold bearing quartz taken from the extensive mine networks, within the Karangahake Mountain. In 1909, output from the Karangahake mines made up 60% of the total of gold produced in New Zealand. Between 1910 and 1920, many mines closed as costs outweighed profits.
Karangahake Gorge Walkway starting point. Hauraki District, North Island, New Zealand
Karangahake Gorge Walkway
Starting point of the Walkways beside the foundation remains of a Battery. The swing bridge takes you to the tunnel.Awesome day for hiking the Karangahake Gorge. Hauraki District, North Island, New Zealand
Karangahake Gorge Walkway
The western portal of the former railway tunnel. This 1100 metre tunnel is electrically lit along its length.

Maori Translations

Ohinemuri River: The weeping waters of hinemuri.
Karangahake: The alerting call from the other side.
Waikono: Harmful waters.
Karangahake Gorge between Paeroa and Waihi. North Island, New Zealand
Karangahake Gorge
Karangahake Gorge is great for outdoor pursuits, situated on SH2 between Paeroa and Waihi with three public access parks.

Attractions and Activities

The Historical Karangahake Gorge walkway gives visitors a glimpse of early mining heritage and an insight into early European economy through the mining of gold, which took place here from the 1870s through to the 1950s. The track follows an old railway line through the gorge and above the Ohinemuri River. You will see remains of mine buildings and machinery, including stamper batteries,
which were used to extract gold from quartz.
The track is also used for Mountain Biking, fishing, swimming, canoeing, picnicking and gemstone hunting.

There are three entry points to the walkway:

Karangahake: Walk starts beside the foundations of the crown battery and crosses over the river. Go through the 1100m former rail tunnel, which is well lit. From the bridge at the tunnel exit you have a choice to go on to Owharoa Falls (3hr return) or taking the loop track back to Karangahake (45mins)
Owharoa Falls: You can chose to go to either Waikino Station (1hr return) or Karangahake (3hr return)
Waikino Historic Station and Visitor Centre: Cross the footbridge to the Victoria Battery site, follow the old railway line to the Owharoa Falls (1hr return).