Tairua River, Broken Hills

Image: Shellie Evans | ©


Camp here and explore the remains of gold mining days on numerous walks in the area.


Topographic map warning

Topo50 maps show tracks that have been permanently closed to prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease.

Check the Kauaeranga valley map (PDF, 2,321K) for open tracks. Only open tracks are shown on this map.

Place overview


  • Camping
  • Walking and tramping

Find things to do and places to stay Broken Hills area

About this place

Nature and conservation

The Broken Hills area provides a home for a wide variety of wildlife living amongst tall forest trees and rotting logs, in tranquil pools as well as the fast-flowing river, and in the dark damp tunnels of past mining days.

  • Listen and look for tūī and bellbirds up in the trees.
  • Watch out for the cave wētā as you walk through the water race tunnels.
  • Spot the glow-worms near the entrance of the Collins Drive Tunnel.
  • Search for kōura and kōkopu in the small pools and streams at night using a torch.

Very few patches of unmodified forest remain today. The regenerating forest includes tōwai, mānuka, rewarewa, fivefinger, and tōtara

History and culture

Around the turn of the 20th century, a bustling goldmining settlement named Puketui was established in the Broken Hills Gorge. It had a post office, hall and several shops.

A settlement of 200 people had sprung up along the river by 1912. Plans were prepared for a permanent township beside the Tairua River. However, just two years later production at the gold mines tailed off and the settlement diminished. Small scale gold mining continued in the area until 1923. Relics of this past mining era can still be seen. Today, one of the old drives is being mined using historic methods.

The Broken Hills area was also logged for kauri.

A campground now occupies the site of the township. Several walks lead to historic relics including the Broken Hills battery site, an underground jail, and underground mine tunnels such as the 500 m long Collins Drive (Golden Hills Mine area) which you can walk through – remember to bring a torch.

Getting there

Broken Hills is 19 km from Tairua and 27 km from Whangamata.

The two entrance roads (Puketui Valley Road and Puketui Road) to Broken Hills do not connect and a stream crossing is required between them.

Plan your journey so you access your destined track or campsite by the correct entrance road.

Puketui Valley Road entrance

Turn off SH25 at Hikuai onto Morrison’s Road (50 m north of the Pauanui turn off) then onto Puketui Valley Road. It is 6 km to the car park at the end of Puketui Valley Road.

Note: Tairua River Bridge, one km short of the road end, has a 10-tonne weight limit.

Puketui Road entrance

Alternative access is available off the Kopu-Hikuai Road (SH25a), 26 km from Thames. Turn on to Puketui Road 400 m before the Tairua River and Fourth Branch Scenic Reserve. A 4 km gravel road brings you to the Puketui Road car park at the southern end of Broken Hills. You will need to wade the stream to access the track system as there is no bridge across the water.


Kauaeranga Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 7 867 9080
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   kauaerangavc@doc.govt.nz
Address:   995C Kauaeranga Valley Road
Thames 3577
Postal Address:   PO Box 343
Thames 3540
Hauraki Office
Phone:   +64 7 867 9180
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   thames@doc.govt.nz
Address:   3/366 Ngati Maru Highway (SH25)
Thames 3500
Postal Address:   PO Box 343
Thames 3540
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