Historic gold mining machinery at Karangahake Gorge
Image: Tourism Coromandel | ©
In the 1890s three large batteries were built at Karangahake to service the Woodstock, Talisman and Crown mines.
The Woodstock Gold Mining Company was formed in 1885. It met with little success because of the difficult, refractory nature of the ore despite its high grade. It wasn’t until the introduction of the ‘cyanide’ process in 1894 (developed by the nearby Crown Gold Mining Co in 1889) which greatly improved returns, that the mine developed.
In 1895 the company erected a 40 stamp battery and cyanide plant, as did the Crown (1893), and Talisman Companies (1901).
Because of their heritage significance, impressive structural remains and easy access, DOC has embarked on a multi-year development plan.
You can reach the Karangahake Gorge by traveling south from Paeroa or north from Waihi on SH2. The gorge is located halfway between the two towns, and most of the walks start at the northern end of the gorge.
Mine tunnels and shafts are dangerous and may be hidden by vegetation. Keep to official marked tracks and do not enter tunnels unless they are clearly marked for public access.
A torch is recommended for mine tunnel exploration.
The lower part of the Crown Track between the Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway and the Underground Pumphouse will regularly be closed when heavy rainfall is forecast. This is to ensure public safety, which could be affected by weather-induced slips and rock fall - regular occurrences on this track.
The Underground Pumphouse and Dickey Flat Campsite would still be accessible via the Windows Walk when the lower Crown Track is closed.
Check with the Tauranga Office for the current status, or call the DOC hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) at weekends and public holidays.