Waitawheta River at Waitawheta Gorge
|Basin countries||New Zealand|
|Length||17 kilometres (11 mi)|
|Mouth elevation||38 metres (125 ft)|
The Waitawheta River is a river of the Waikato Region of New Zealand's North Island. It flows from a point south-east of Mount Te Aroha in the Kaimai Range to the Karangahake Gorge at the foot of the Coromandel Peninsula to reach the Ohinemuri River at Karangahake, five kilometres east of Paeroa.
After skirting the small settlement of Waitawheta, the river flows through the increasingly narrow Waitawheta Gorge before reaching the Karangahake Gorge. From the Karangahake end, several spectacular walks lead into the gorge - the "Windows Walk" through mining tunnels in the cliff face high above the river, the Crown Tramway Track (partly carved into the rock), and the Crown Track (also referred to as the Waitawheta Pipeline Walk), which leads further into the gorge and to the Dickey Flat campsite. The Dickey Flat campsite is also accessible via Dickey Flat Road.
The confluence of the Waitawheta River and the Ohinemuri River used to be the centre of the gold mining industry in the Karangahake Gorge area, with the water of the Waitawheta River used for powering stamping batteries. Tailings from the Talisman Mine in the Waitawheta Gorge were tipped out into the gorge via windows at the ends of the mining tunnels. These tunnels and windows are now partly accessible via the Windows Walk, as is the Woodstock Underground Pumphouse on the river's true left and further into the gorge. Remnants of the mining tram tracks are still visible in many places, while only the foundations of the stamping battery buildings remain. At the height of the mining activity around the start of the 1900s, the Talisman mining operation included 50 stampers and buildings on both sides of the Waitawheta Gorge.
"Place Name Detail: Waitawheta River". New Zealand Geographic Placenames Database. Land Information New Zealand. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
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