From the north, sliding down the east coast to The Bay of Plenty – Karangarahake (kah-rah-na-hakee) to Whakatane (fah·kah·taa·nae).
Striking Gold at Karangahake Gorge
At the southern end of the Coromandel Peninsula is a curvy canyon with walkways, tunnels and artifacts from one of NZ’s most lucrative gold strikes. LOVED THE WALKS!
Victoria Battery – 1897
NZ’s largest and most advanced facility of its type – 200 stampers crushed gold-bearing quartz.
Windows Walkway (Take a Torch)
Low ceilings, pitch-black trail, windows blasted through the tunnels – keep walking to cross the river and back through the glorious canyon.
Waihi’s Massive Open Pit
Waihi’s Martha Mine – For 70 years one of the most important gold and silver mines in the world – 11,932,000 tons of ore yielded 5.6 million ounces of gold, 38.4 million ounces of silver.
Seven vertical shafts, the deepest at 600 meters (1/3 mile), 15 different levels, and a tunnel network of 175 kilometers (108 miles). The ore was mined with picks and shovels, transported by rail to Victoria Battery for crushing.
Recent history – dump trucks carried 90-100 tons of rock, each load yielding 2 tablespoons of gold and 20 tablespoons of silver.
Waihi Beach – Stunning Orokawa Walk
A bit south, at Waihi (WAH-hee) Beach, the coastal walk to Orokawa (OR-o-ka-wa) Bay and beyond is fantastic – through bush, white sandy beaches. My heart stopped for the giant overhanging pohutukawa trees.
Katikati – Mural Town
Located between Waihi and Tauranga, colorful murals and sculptures. Populated by Māori long before Europeans arrived, Katikati means nibble nibble.
Face of Culture – 2013 NZ Mural and Art Festival community project.
Katikati’s Te Puna Quarry Park
Tauranga “A Place to Rest”
Tauranga,(Toe·ruhng·uh), discovered in the 13th century by Māori, is NZ’s fastest growing city. Population 150,000, a harbor/port town with world-class beaches at Mount Maunganui and Papamoa.
Climb the Mount!
Mount Maunganui (maa-na-NOO-ee) is an extinct lava dome dubbed “The Mount”. Mauao/Maunganui means “caught by dawn”.
The Mount’s walking paths MUST BE WALKED! The 360 degree view at the top is the payoff. Bonus – Hang Gliders!
The amble on the lower trail is divine, lined with pohutukawa trees whose branches wind out of control.
Down the beach, The Mount is visible for miles – a long, unobstructed walk from Papamoa.
Te Puke (More Gold!)
Famous for the cultivation of kiwifruit. OMG! Golden Kiwifruit! Selectively exported – if you see them…buy them!
Only minutes from Tauranga, the lakeland park has extensive walkways and one of the best botanical collections of trees on North Island.