The Karangahake Railway Tunnel walk is one of the trails in Karangahake Gorge. It’s a picturesque hike with some interesting history and things to see along the way. We stopped to stretch our legs on our road trip from the Coromandel Peninsula to Rotorua. This guide will provide all the information you need for the walk.
Where is Karangahake Gorge?
How do you get to Karangahake Gorge?
It will take about 2 hours by car from Auckland along SH1 and then SH2. It is 5 minutes past Paeroa.
When is the best time to visit?
There isn’t a best time to do this walk. A fine day would be better though to make the most of the stunning scenery.
Where can you park?
There are two car parks; one by the Karangahake Hall and the other is the Karangahake Domain car park. Both are just off State Highway 2.
We parked at Karangahake Hall as it is the closest one to the rail tunnel.
Karangahake Railway Tunnel Walk
Length and walk time of Railway Tunnel Loop
The Railway Tunnel walk is a 2.5km loop trail that will take around an hour and a half to complete. It is an easy walk but not suitable for wheelchairs.
The walking track
If you start at Karangahake Hall, take a look at the old battery before heading up to the bridge.
You will cross the pedestrian bridge over the river and highway before heading into the rail tunnel.
The tunnel was built between 1900 and 1905 to transport mining material and gold to and from Waihi. This replaced the pack horses that did the job previously. It used to be the busiest gold mine in New Zealand.
It is 1086m long but the time went quickly, and we enjoyed the walk through it. There are lights but it can still be quite dark and there were some puddles of water when we went. It is definitely a great feature to have on a walking trail.
Once out of the tunnel, you cross another bridge back over the river. Turn right and follow the Ohinemuri River.
It’s a beautiful scenic walk, and there are plenty of opportunities for photogrtaphy enthusiasts.
You then come to a swing bridge that takes you across the Waitawheta River. There is a second swing bridge that leads into the main car park. Cross this for toilets and water. There are also rubbish bins provided here.
To carry on the walk, cross back over the bridge, turn right and follow the river back to the Karangahake Hall car park.
You can extend this walk by taking the Windows Walk which starts just before the Swing Bridge and finishes the other side of it. This trail is also 2.5km and will take an additional hour and a half.
- Take a torch or use your phone light in the tunnel
- Make sure you have plenty of water for your walk
- Dogs are not allowed on this part of the trail
- Toilets and water can be found at Karangahake Domain car park
- Remember your camera
- Allow enough time to explore the area
Map of Karangahake Gorge
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Karangahake Trails Brochure
You can download a copy of the brochure on the Department of Conversation’s website. This also shows a map of the walking trail and where the car parks are located.
Other Hikes on New Zealand’s North island
We stayed in a 2-bedroom suite at the Best Western in Rotorua and would stay there again. It was centrally based, good value, and had a separate kitchen, dining and lounge area. The resort included free Wi-Fi, mini golf and a heated pool with spa pool.
As usual, we booked through Booking.com due to their competitive pricing and free cancellation on most properties.