Auckland Baptist Tramping Club


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28 people had a very interesting time exploring the historic goldmining relics that dot the Karangahake Walkway which up till 1978 was part of the railway line between Paeroa and Waihi. We left The Bracken at 7:30am for the two-hour drive to the restored railway station at Waikino. This time we had our coffee time before our tramp instead of afterwards, while cars were taken to Karangahake to bring drivers back to the start afterwards.
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We set out at 10:30am, walking through a tunnel under the highway before crossing the Ohinemuri River to come to the site of the Victoria Battery, where ore was processed and gold extracted at the turn of last century.  A restored tramline line went up to the water race and the old processing building which is now a museum, but it was closed when we were there.
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On top of the hill were the old kilns, where the rock was roasted to make it easier to get the gold out of it.  These were covered by a large barn-like shelter to prevent them turning into ponds, and we could gaze into them from a bridge walkway. There was a good view of the battery site below.
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We returned to the bottom and spent some time looking at the remains of the treatment plant.
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As we left the Victoria Battery about 11:20am we saw a gang of volunteers beginning to move the bottom section of the tramline one metre to give a better ride for the tourist train that runs by arrangement.
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Soon we came to the Owharoa Falls. Some of us followed a bush track from the walkway to the top of the falls on Waitawheta Rd, while the others went up the road to see them.
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Afterwards we carried on along the walkway following the old railway formation. We came to a side track leading to an old quarry that now sports a tall waterfall.
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We had our lunch on the main walkway at this point, enjoying the view across the Ohinemuri River.
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Ruth for our devotions told us about part of a course she was doing at Carey Baptist College about spiritual formation. The disciplines covered in the course included fasting, prayer, worship, meditation, communion, silence and solitude. She focussed on solitude and silence, being alone with God, encouraging us to claim the little solitudes, or times alone, in our daily lives as a time of thinking about and worshipping Him

We carried on along the walkway and soon came to the old kilometre-long railway tunnel. The bridge across the river before the tunnel was having maintenance work done on it. A handful of us walked through the tunnel while the rest of us enjoyed the Karangahake Gorge alternative section of the walkway. We were all back together to do the Windows Walk about 3pm. A short track climbed up to a restored mining tramline that led to an old gold mine. There was a labyrinth of tunnels we could walk into, with several lookouts giving a spectacular view of the Waitawheta Gorge below, with the remains of the Crown bridge and railway that are now a walking track - hence the name Windows Walk.
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Beyond the tunnels we dropped down via a wooden staircase to this bridge and railway formation hewn into the vertical cliffs, to return to the start of the Windows Walk.
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We left Karangahake about 3:50pm, most of us going straight home to Auckland in time for the rugby in the evening while once car of four people had a welcome soak at the Miranda Hot Springs and dinner at the famous fish and chips at Kaiaua.
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COST: travel $19 (straight home afterwards) or $20 (via Miranda hot pools), Miranda Hot Springs $12-50.