THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
Location: Karangahake Gorge
Parking: Lots of parking at the beginning of the walk
Toilets: There are toilets right by the car park, as well as a picnic area
Dogs: Dogs on leash only
Shoes: Normal walking shoes are ok, we decided to go up to the waterfall and this was very muddy as it had been raining
Date Walked: 16.09.2017
Weather Conditions: sunny, rainy, cold, hot (typical NZ weather!!)
Distance: Total distance I walked was 16.9km, as we explored most of the tracks. on the signage this track says 7km. We did a lot more distance as we also did the window walk which you can read about here.
Time Required: its a great place to spend the majority of the day, as there is a lot to look at
Final Rating: ★★★☆☆
Getting to the Karangahake gorge is really easy, on Google maps you can simply type it in and it will take you straight there. As we were coming from the North through Paeroa, its around 7km from Paeroa town.
IN MY BACKPACK
In my backpack I had two bottles of water, a jumper, my rain jacket and a camera. As the weather was so unpredictable it went from hot, to raining to cold to hot again.
The walk starts at the carpark and over the first bridge. From here there are multiple walks you can do, you can choose to go left or right. We went right, and started along the bush track on the side of the river.
The views all along the track were beautiful. As it had been raining a lot the river was high and flowing fast.
Shortly into the walk we came across some old mining buildings, which we decided not to stop at as we had both seen in previous visits but there is a lot of history around so I would recommend stopping at each sign if you have the time.
There is then a short incline on a bridge up to the main bridge which crosses you over SH2, and to the entrance of the tunnel.
The tunnel is around 1km long and well lit, so no need for a torch! This is really cool to walk through, there were also a lot of people on bikes which would have made for a fun day out.
At the end of the tunnel there is another bridge which takes you over SH2 again, and you’re at a fork in the path. Straight ahead takes you for the walk to Waikino, or right takes you on a loop back around to the Windows Walk. The walk to Waikino is ok, however it is just a path along the river and at the end you get to the Victoria Battery. Personally, I prefer the walks closer to the car park as there is generally more to see.
So, we continued straight towards Victoria Battery, the path is very well maintained.
We kept walking, and got to a road crossing, which you can drive directly to if you hadn’t already parked at the main carpark. From the road crossing it is around 1km down a gravel road to the Victoria Battery. By this time it was torrential rain so I never had a chance to take any photos but it was very cool to see!
We then made our way back the same way we came, however on the way back we took a left up an optional one way track up to see the waterfall. The track is to the right of the below picnic bench and is well signposted. As we had our dog with us we thought it would be a good opportunity for her to have a quick dip as it was quite warm on our way back.
The waterfall track was clearly less maintained than main track, and there were some very soggy patches however the waterfall was cool to see.
Back on the main track, after the waterfall we continued on our way back. At the fork in the path that I had mentioned above we turned to our now left (right if you’ve just come out of the tunnel) and made our way down the rivers edge. This is an amazing part of the track! A very skinny piece of path right next the river.
This is now your opportunity to go back to the carpark through the tunnel or explore more through the walkway along the river and optionally up to Windows Walk, or it would make a nice loop from the carpark, through the tunnel and back along this track.
Overall, this is a good walk for a sunny day. As it was raining for us it wasn’t the most enjoyable, however I do think it would be more fun on a bike as it was completely flat and not as much for walkers to look at 🙂