Karangahake Gorge Loop Day Walk, Coromandel – New Zealand

Instead of putting together a multi-day hike in the Coromandel, I decided to do two different walks, a day walk and an overnight walk. For the day walk, I decided to head to the Karangahake Gorge and figure out what to do when I got there.

There were plentiful cars in the various carparks when I arrived, so I parked up, threw on my day pack and headed out. I crossed a bridge and picked a walk from the sign, found it on my AllTrails app and headed out on the 14.4km Karangahake Gorge Loop.

Apparently, there’s a trail called the Windows Walk, but it was closed, so I headed along the other side of the gorge, following a flat path cut out of the gorge wall with a guard rail.

At a bridge, I crossed to the other side where a gate blocked off a cave into an old gold mine.

Across from it, on the side of the gorge I’d just come from was another opening into a large set of mines. According to the sign before me, the mines go quite far back into the mountain.

I continued along the now dirt trail without a hand guard following an old pipe that had been chained to the rock.

The trail wound its way along the gorge for a handful kilometres before coming to the Dickey Flat Waterfall. While the falls are not huge, they are split, with one part running through an old minding tunnel, delivering the water into the river.

Beside the waterfall, the trail entered a similar mine tunnel. I broke out my head torch and headed in and was glad I did, as I wouldn’t have been able to avoid the plentiful puddles without it. At times the tunnel was quite low for my height, but nothing too short. I passed a girl coming the other way and exited through the far end.

Another kilometre on and I crossed the river and walked past the Dickey Flat Campsite and onto a dirt road.

From here, the trail led up the dirt road for another kilometre before arriving at a sealed road, then on for a handful more kilometres, crossing a hill before coming past the Owharoa Falls.

A minute further on and I arrived back at the Karangahake Gorge. From here the trail followed it for 3 kilometres along a wide flat dirt path shared by cyclists and walkers, with the cars streaming along the gorge road opposite.

At one point a small trail leads off to another small waterfall at the base of Dubbo Stream.

Three kilometres along the gorge and a wide rail bridge led into an 1100m railway tunnel, with dim lights spaced along the way. I put on my head torch again to give me a better look at the walls and walked on. At the far end I crossed a bridge and walked for another 500m back to the carpark.

Overall,
The Karangahake was a nice day walk with plenty of history based around the old gold mining industry. After my walk I headed to the coastal town of Thames to prepare for the overnight hike to the Pinnacles tomorrow.

The Lone Trail Wanderer

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