From Canaan Carpark, a 45 minute walking track leads through beech forest with stunning limestone rock formations framing the track.
At a junction in the track, the right-hand branch leads to spectacular Gorge Creek Lookout with stunning views of the Takaka Valley and Gorge Creek. Care is required reaching the lookout as the track traverses very sharp limestone rock formations.
The left-hand branch stops near the deepest vertical shaft in New Zealand (176 metres). A water-enlarged (but now dry) sinkhole, it drops to an underground river that emerges below and flows into Gorge Creek and then into the Takaka River.
It is very dangerous to approach the edge of the hole. There are no barriers. It is not possible to see down the shaft.
From State Highway 60, near the top of the Takaka Hill, follow an unsealed 11 km side road to Canaan Carpark where there is a campsite, toilet, water and orientation sign.
Know before you go
- Harwoods Hole is at the end of the track. Children need to be supervised; the hole is a very dangerous place, extreme care required.
- Only experienced cavers should enter the hole and they must know the Harwoods Hole and Starlight Cave guidelines.