Karangahake Gorge

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Karangahake Gorge
Karangahake Walkway

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Karangahake Gorge

Karangahake Walkway
Karangahake Gorge & Historic Walkway 8km east of Paeroa is the historic Karangahake Gorge which links Paeroa with Waihi.

Karangahake gold mines were second only to Waihi’s Martha mine in gold production. The Crown mine at Karangahake was the first mine in the world (1889) to use cyanide treatment to extract elusive gold from quartz rock.
DOC walkways give access to historic mining sites, stunning gorge scenery, a kilometre long rail tunnel and old mine drives.

Karangahake Gorge View the ruins of the underground powerhouse. Wonder at the ingenuity and resourcefulness of men in the pursuit of gold during the boom days of 1889 - 1919.

The Karangahake you see today is vastly different to that of the mining heydays. The mountain was bare of trees. The timber was used to fire kilns in the initial attempts to extract gold from the quartz rock.

In 1895 the Ohinemuri River was declared ‘a sludge channel’ and tailings, mining debris and waste water were discharged directly into the river. This continued until the closing of the last gold and silver processing battery at Waikino in 1952.

Karangahake Gorge Today the mountain and gorge are covered with regenerating punga and natives (sprinkled with rogue pine trees!) and the clear, sparkling Ohinemuri River is teeming with rainbow and brown trout. A sure sign that the river has recovered its natural vibrancy. The mining ruins and history of Karangahake are a wonderful testimony to man’s determination and industry in the pursuit of that elusive mineral ‘gold’. And now, Karangahake is testimony to the healing power of planet Earth if left to its own devices.

 

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