Karangahake Gorge

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Coordinates: 37°25′25″S 175°43′32″E / 37.423676°S 175.725514°E / -37.423676; 175.725514

The gorge and river.
The gorge near Waihi.
A former rail bridge in the gorge, now a tourism trail.

The Karangahake Gorge lies between the Coromandel and Kaimai ranges, at the southern end of the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand's North Island. A sharply winding canyon, it was formed by the Ohinemuri River. State Highway 2 passes through this gorge between the towns of Paeroa, Waikino and Waihi. This road is the main link between the Waikato region and the Bay of Plenty.

The East Coast Main Trunk Railway used to run through the gorge until it was bypassed by the Kaimai Deviation. Part of the line, including a 1000-metre tunnel, is now a walkway, and together with the natural sights of the gorge, makes it into a well-visited local tourist attraction.[1] The railhead at the Waikino end of the Gorge still exists, preserved as part of the Goldfields Railway to Waihi.[2]


The area has a strong connection to mining, and even in the 2010s, sees a number of companies prospecting and mining the area, though with much less visible and invasive methods than were used historically.[3] The Talisman, Crown and Woodstock stamping battery remains at the lower end of the gorge are some of the most significant reminders of the time (mining at the batteries occurred roughly from the 1880s to 1950s). The batteries used to crush the ore from the extensive tunnels mined through the steep local mountainsides, with a substantial minority of the tunnels being accessible to tourists from a range of walking paths that wind through the area.[1][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Clement, Diana (26 April 2011). "Coromandel: Gorge yourself". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Wright, Danielle (4 June 2011). "Karangahake Gorge: Middle of the road trip". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Cumming, Geoff (6 March 2010). "Surgical operation for Coromandel". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 19 March 2010. 
  4. ^ Eagles, Jim (5 August 2010). "Karangahake: Windows into darkness". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 15 August 2011. 

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