Gorge Creek Lookout with stunning views of the Takaka Valley and Gorge Creek
Image: Daniel and Stephanie | Creative Commons


At the end of Harwoods Hole Track is Harwoods Hole, the deepest vertical shaft in New Zealand. Find out how to get there and important safety information.

Track overview

2.9 km one way return via same track

Walking and tramping

45 min one way Easy: Walking track

Dog access

No dogs

About this track


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.

Getting there

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.


Whakatū / Nelson Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 546 9339
Email:   nelsonvc@doc.govt.nz
Address:   Co-located with Nelson i-SITE
Millers Acre/Taha o te Awa
79 Trafalgar Street
Nelson 7010
Full office details
Takaka Office
Phone:   +64 3 525 8026
Email:   takaka@doc.govt.nz
Address:   62 Commercial Street
Takaka 7110
Full office details
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