Karangahake Gorge is just over 7km east of the township of Paeroa along SH2. Remnants of its significant gold-mining history include the spectacular Windows Walk, a round trip that takes about an hour and provides outstanding views of the steep gorge, the fast-flowing Waitawheta River, and remnants of mining-related structures that were vitally important in the days when Karangahake’s gold was a vital contributor to the economy. While several houses remain at the gorge, it’s a far cry from the times when Karangahake was a sizeable township, as can be seen on the very good interpretive signage.
The Windows Walk, including the tunnels where taking a torch or wearing a headlamp is advisable, gives yet another perspective of the hard life faced by our pioneer miners. We followed some diggings inside the Windows tunnels, turned off our lights, and to our delight discovered several glow worms on the tunnel roofs. However, it would have been a different kettle of fish having to work in those very dark tunnels all day long.