This walkway features historic railway remains in a stunning natural gorge setting, including two steel truss bridges and a 1 km rail tunnel, and provide access to the relics of historic gold mining. The walkway follows the railway line through the gorge and then opens out alongside the Ohinemuri River, passing through the huge Victoria Battery complex and terminating at the Waikino Station where a cafe and train rides can be investigated.
A shorter loop section can be walked, that includes both the bridges and the 1100 m railway tunnel at Karangahake.
The walkway can be described in two sections.
Time: 45 min return
Distance: 2.5 km
Starting at Karangahake Hall, walk through the foundations of the Crown Battery before climbing up onto the Western Portal Bridge over the river. The 1100 m former rail tunnel, which is well lit, leads from the end of this bridge and emerges at the Eastern Portal Bridge which takes you back over the Ohinemuri River. From here there is a choice of completing the loop back to Karangahake, by walking downstream along the river, or you can choose to continue on the Historic Walkway by going upstream towards Waikino.
Time: 4 hr return
Distance: 4.3 km
At the Eastern Portal Bridge go upstream, following the bends in the river along the line of the railway. It is about an hour's walk before you reach Owharoa Falls and the entrance to the Victoria Battery. Victoria Battery is a destination in its own right, but a short walk through the remains, following the railway line, leads you to an underpass which provides access to the Waikino Station. Return the same way or have your friends pick you up!
Erected in 1897 to crush quartz, the Victoria Battery was considered the largest and most advanced facility of its type in New Zealand.
Today, a short walk from the Waikino Station Café takes you to the Victoria Battery site, which has interesting on-site information. The Victoria Battery Tramway Society also offers guided tours on a narrow gauge mining tramway and tours of the Victoria Battery’s ore kilns.
The ride includes a section of narrow, winding track from the eastern portal of the rail tunnel to the talisman battery site in the karangahake gorge, where cyclists are asked to dismount (check for signage). The Rail tunnel does have some lighting, however a bike light or torch is recommended. This is a shared-use track. Respect others, respect the rules, respect the track.
Time to lookout: 2 hr 30 min - 3 hr one way
Time to summit: 3 hr - 3 hr 30 min one way
This is the steeper but more scenic of the two summit tracks. Once over the stile at the start of the track, it’s all up hill, but there are plenty of good vantage points to stop, catch your breath and admire the view. After passing through a grove of kānuka, the track climbs up a grassy slope before reaching the main ridge. Chains and ladders have been installed to help negotiate the occasional rocky outcrop. At a large rocky bluff the track sidles around to the north for a short distance then climbs steadily to the ridge. At this point, a short 10-minute side track takes you to a lookout providing good views across Raglan Harbour. Back on the main track it is another hour to the summit (756 m) along an undulating ridge. The vegetation along the ridge has been sculptured by the strong prevailing westerly wind. The forest changes from kohekohe at lower altitudes to tawa forest, to kamahi and tāwheowheo towards the top. Other species of note include miro, toro, horopito and Dracophyllum traversii.
Getting there: Start this track at Te Toto Gorge, 13 km from Raglan. Note, the last 4 km of Whaanga Road are unsealed.
Time: 2 - 3 hr one way
This is the shortest route to the summit and isn't as steep as sections of the Karioi Track. It doesn't have the same views. It’s a 40-min walk across private farmland to the bush edge. Respect the access privilege which is only available during daylight hours. From the bush edge, the track climbs steadily through coastal forest, comprising kohekohe, māhoe, rewarewa, kamahi and a variety of ferns and shrubs, to the summit.
Getting there: The track starts at the end of Karioi Road, off Ruapuke Road.
A historically significant site, the Te Toto Gorge south of Raglan, New Zealand not only boasts stunning and uninterrupted views of the rugged west coast, it also provides an insight into traditional Maori gardens.
This great short Waikato walk includes remnants of garden plots, stonewalls and karaka groves which have been dated back as far as the 1700 and 1800. From the carpark, which is also used for those hiking Mount Karioi, a short track leads to a viewing platform which provides spectacular views of the coastline, gorge and amphitheatre where the Maori gardens once thrived. Beyond the lookout the track is unmarked through an open grassy area with a steep descent before flattening out closer to the coast.