This is important- Take a torch (a flashlight) with you from the Lodge if you don’t have one in your phone…you’ll need it.
We start by going into town and then following Route 2 east until we get to the Karangahake Gorge…kind of fun to say once you get used to it! First, if you’d like a bit to eat before you start the day, we’d suggest the quaint Café at the Waikino Railway Station and Visitor’s Center on the right side of the road as you’re headed to the Gorge…you can’t miss it. The food is great and the people ever so nice.
Now if you haven’t seen the pretty little Owharoa Falls, you can stop and see them on the way to the Gorge. They are just a short distance after Waikino - Turn left on Waitawheta Road and drive over the bridge and up the hill a bit and you’ll see them on your right hand side. Park and get a good look and a photo!
Ok, on to the Gorge! Get back on Route 2 going west and you’ll see the Karangahake Reserve Car Park on the left-hand side of the highway in just about 2 km. Find the “Windows Walk” and take it! It’s a pretty easy one-hour (round-trip) hike that passes through the relics of the Talisman and Crown mining operations, but the big pay off is that you’ll walk into the mine shafts that have “windows” blasted in them and the view of the deep gorge out of some of those windows is spectacular. It’s so good that we won’t spoil the surprise by showing a picture of it here.
Want to see some glow worms that New Zealand is famous for? Go past the top swing bridge and a little further on you will find the 'Woodstock Underground Pump House'. It is worth going into this mineshaft with a torch A bit dark and spooky but keep going in to the gates then turn torch off and wait in the dark till the glowworms show themselves!
When you’re done with your hike, we suggest you drive back to Waihi to do two things: first you have to take a look at Waihi’s famous 300 meter deep gold mine pit. It’s right in the town and the easiest way to get to it is to take a left off the main street (Seddon Street) at Haszard street and when it ends, turn right onto Martha Street and park in that small lot. Then just get out and walk up the hill a bit to Martha mine. It’s still being mined today, actually, and there are some interesting relics of the old mining era around, including the towering “Pump House” that was moved from it’s original spot to where it stands today. When you see it, you’ll wonder how they ever accomplished that - a bit of a miracle of engineering.