IntroductionThe 80-minute walk follows an old 4WD road then the tracks climbs to the old water tunnels. You will need a torch and raincoat to explore the tunnels.
The Tartare Tunnels Walk shares the first 5 minutes with the Callery Gorge Walk. This section is a short, gentle climb to a high terrace behind Franz Josef Waiau township, passing the town water supply pipes and tanks.
After 10 minutes on a four wheel drive road, the track climbs gently then drops to a view of the scenic Tatare Gorge. The track then becomes steep and narrow for the short climb to the Tatare Tunnels.
If you want to explore the tunnels bring a torch and raincoat. You may get wet feet – at worst the water will be ankle deep.
The track stops just inside the far end of the first tunnel as the wooden structures beyond the tunnel are damaged.
The Tatare Tunnels Walk begins in the Franz Josef Waiau township at the end of Cowan Street.
- Take warm and waterproof clothing as the weather can change rapidly.
Pioneer miners drove a 500 metre tunnel system through from the Tatare Gorge to pipe water to the Waiho terrace. While the gold recovered did not cover mining costs, Franz Josef township was established on the operation site. From 1911 the sluice pipes provided water supply for the old Graham Hotel.
The high-pressure water drove a Pelton wheel in the town and generated electricity for a sawmill during the day and lights for the town at night. In 1938 water from the Tatare Tunnels powered a small hydro station in the Tatare Gorge until it was destroyed by a slip in 1982.