Goldmining activity during the 1890’s was short-lived. After huge investments to develop tramways, a water race and battery, prospecting was abandoned. This is a rough old track and gets you into a bit on New Zealand back country where few others have trodden.
You should make sure you have map skills and route-finding experience to go here.
The Parakiwai Quarry Road is 6km south of Whangamata and 25 km north of Waihi along S.H.25. The roadend is a further 2.5km. The track starts from the signpost at the far end of the carpark.
The well-formed track fords the Wharekirauponga Stream. In most places it is wide, and passes through lush, fern-dominated streamside vegetation. It can however be uneven and boggy. After approximately 30 minutes two orange triangles indicate the path bearing left.
For approximately the first 1¼ hours the path follows the old horse tramway and enters a clearing. There is a post with a map showing the various options for exploring the Royal Standard Claim mine workings.
Most of the interesting sites of goldmining relics are reached by following the path to the right. The path is marked, but becomes uneven, narrow and overgrown. It follows the old lower tramway track through a 20-metre tunnel and past an old pipe from the water race. The marked path continues to a series of waterfalls with swimming holes. Shortly after crossing the stream the orange triangles cease.
Bearing left from the post and map, the path is marked and well-formed, but narrow and overgrown. The track loops and meets up at the waterfalls. The final few hundred meters are unmarked.
Note that there are many well-formed paths which branch from the main marked track. It is better to keep to the main track.
The cliff beside the carpark and the geological reserve 10 minutes from the carpark are good examples of columnar jointing. The hexagonal columns are formed by the cooling of viscous andesite lava.
North Island ▷ Coromandel ▷ Whangamata
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Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍