Yesterday's Karangahake tramp, a real club favourite, was an extremely popular one! About 45 people. 30 of us in Big Yellow and the remainder from the Whitianga Tramping Club obviously keen to check out Karangahake and Waikino areas that are so steeped in gold mining history dating back to the late 1800's, where the old tracks and machinery and concrete structures are deteriorating with time.
Raring to go, we broke into a number of smaller groups. Smaller groups you move faster and can keep tabs on the whole group.
My group started our journey over the brand new suspension bridge crossing the Ohinemuri River right beside the carpark and head across our second suspension bridge in this incredibly scenic area, that gives you an air of stepping back in time, as we.climb a small flight of steps and we're standing on the historic railway tracks that they used to move gold and by product. There is a gold mining trolley gracefully rusting away.
Torches at the ready, we enter the first of the tunnels in the famous Windows Walk. Windows, due to the holes calved out of the rock face to create air vents for the tunnels that plunge deep into the mountain. As you look out of the Windows, the sheer rock faces of Mt Karangahake opposite you never fail to impress.
Every now and again switching off our headlights to spot the Glow Worms! Not so many glowing tails today, maybe a little dry?
We drop down opposite the old Crown Battery, another tunnel that goes into the heart of the mountain, but due to a slip was closed about 3 years. A great pity, as you used to be able to walk in about 50 metres and it opens out into a massive cave with the old machinery still there!
Despite Saturdays heavy rain, the Waitawheta River is only very gently burbling away beside, us we thoroughly enjoy the mostly flat track and beautiful native flora surroundings. As we reach a very popular swimming spot where the river briefly widens with a few waterfalls to provide enjoyment for all.
One more fun tunnel and yipee a few group of Glow Worms! Further up the river, suspension bridge number 3, and we hit the base of the Dubbo 96 Track, and a thorough boot clean session before entering the track to head up the mountain!